Just About Classics
In Hans Blumenberg's posthumous work, Fontane's tracks are everywhere, whether the author is discussing social advancement or the perceptions of the hiker in the Mark Brandenburg, the expressive names in Der Stechlin or the pears of Herr von Ribbeck, the première of Hauptmann's Vor Sonnenaufgang, or Prussian grenadiers, truth and death. This book is a collection of reflections on individual writings, often just sentences, of Fontane, sometimes close to the original, sometimes linked to it by a single keyword., one of Fontane's favoured formulations. All these texts, however, have one thing in common: eschewing the philologist's obsession for detail, they are, both in thought and in writing, miniatures of an unparalleled clarity and succintness. Blumenberg, summing up the writer to whose work he returned again and again: "As if he wanted to avoid turning into a classic writer of the modern age, Theodor Fontane manged to die in the penultimate year of a century in which those who belonged wholeheartedly to it could still become "classical" classics."