Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Sub-Department

German

First Advisor

Nicholas Vazsonyi,

Second Advisor

Yvonne Ivory

Abstract

This thesis will analyze the characteristics of the artist as an individual who attempts to attain an aesthetic Ideal in which he believes he will find fulfillment. In the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, most notably Das Fräulein von Scuderi and Rat Krespel, the artists René Cardillac and Rat Krespel not only fall short of this ideal, but also limit themselves to the point that they cannot advance further without causing destruction in their own lives. The failure of these artists is not due to their imperfections, but rather to their strict adherence to German Idealist principles, which limit the artist in the manner by which he strives toward the Ideal. Such limitations are incompatible with the societies in which these artists live, resulting in the physical or metaphorical death of the artist. The arguments in this thesis intend to reveal the Romantic artist's condition as one of continuous striving toward an aesthetic Ideal with a conscious awareness that the Ideal can never be attained, thereby allowing the artist to progress in his journey in spite of conflict and error. This thesis aims to prove that the Romantic concept of Unendlichkeit, or the eternal acquisition of truth, should be the artist's goal. If the artist can accept Unendlichkeit as the aim of his artistic pursuits, then he will be able to find true fulfillment in the continuous change and progression of his condition.

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