Mignons Afterlives: Crossing Cultures from Goethe to the Twenty-First Century

Hardcover | October 1, 2011

byTerence Cave

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By tracing the afterlives of Mignon, an apparently minor character in Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Terence Cave explores a phenomenal success story in the history of literature and music, and more broadly of cultural history. Mignon steps out of the shadow of its protagonistWilhelm and fashions a destiny of her own: she becomes the object of an obsessive interest that reached its peak in the later nineteenth century but continues to reverberate into the twenty-first century. Mignon reappears - often as a character bearing a different name but sharing an unmistakable family resemblance with her - in a wide range of different literary works from Goethe himself via the German Romantic Novel, Mme de Stael, George Sand, Nerval and Baudelaire, Walter Scott and George Eliot toGerhart Hauptmann and Angela Carter. Her songs, set by dozens of composers from Reichardt and Beethoven to Wolf, reverberated through the drawing-rooms and concert-halls of nineteenth-century Europe. She is the heroine of the most popular French opera of the late nineteenth century, and she hasfeatured in a number of films. She is fascinating because she is poised on the threshold between childhood and adolescence, aphasia and expressive power, words and music; she is a wanderer who has lost her home, an exile who has been abducted and abused; and the many stories in which her life isreenacted provide a litmus test for key cultural values of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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By tracing the afterlives of Mignon, an apparently minor character in Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Terence Cave explores a phenomenal success story in the history of literature and music, and more broadly of cultural history. Mignon steps out of the shadow of its protagonistWilhelm and fashions a destiny of her own: she b...

Terence Cave is Emeritus Professor of French Literature in the University of Oxford and Emeritus Research Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Honorary Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and of Queen Mary, University of London, and he holds an Honorary D.Litt. at the University o...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:October 1, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199604800

ISBN - 13:9780199604807

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Table of Contents

List of illustrationsPrefaceIntroduction1. The Mignon corpus: preliminary considerations2. Mignon in Germany: from Goethe to Stifter3. Nineteenth-century French afterlives4. Nineteenth-century English afterlives5. Mignon's modern and postmodern survivals6. Mignon's songs: making music out of fiction7. The Mignon corpus: a synoptic viewConclusion: a future for MignonAppendix I: The songs of Mignon and PhilineAppendix II: Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre: principal episodesAppendix III: Mignon in Wilhelm Meisters theatralische SendungAppendix IV: A Mignon chronologyList of works citedIndex