The woman in German poetry: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J. W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’

Emanuela Militello | 28 May 2019
I am going to focus on the portrayal of women as supernatural characters in two ballads by notable German poets: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J.W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’, in order to give an insight into how their characterisation of women is influenced by Greek mythology.
In both ballads, women use their voice to entice the man – in a manner reminiscent of the power of sirens in the Odyssey, where sirens are infamous for luring sailors with their voices and for their uncanny appearance. The unfortunate ones who listen to their seductive singing, shipwreck against the rocks of the sirens’ island and meet a horrible death.

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The Contemporary Citizen in Fatma Aydemir’s Ellbogen

Charlotte Kessler | 6 March 2017

Fatma Aydemir’s debut novel Ellbogen (2017) addresses the experiences of immigrants in Germany in the face of the current political and social climate. ‘Ellbogen’ is German for ‘elbow’ and refers to the pressures in society that cause people to elbow their way to the top in order to be successful. The novel is a striking portrayal of the second generation of immigrants, who are often the children of so-called ‘guest workers’. It captures sensations such as loneliness, alienation and the search for belonging, which Aydemir does through telling the heart-warming story of a teenage girl of Turkish descent living in Germany and by using the colloquial language of Turkish teenagers who mix German and Turkish slang. The observation of migration experience does not end there. There are various situations and characters that lend themselves to an analysis in regard to Claire Sutherland’s chapter on citizenship and migration in Nationalism in the Twenty-First Century (2012).

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