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The Wasting Heroine in German Fiction by Women 1770-1914$
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Anna Richards

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267545

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267545.001.0001

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‘DIE BLEICHEN, VOM NICHTSTHUN, VON SEHNSUCHT UND ENTTÄUSCHUNG VERZEHRTEN MÄDCHEN’ REPRESSION AND APATHY IN GABRIELE REUTER (1859–1941)

‘DIE BLEICHEN, VOM NICHTSTHUN, VON SEHNSUCHT UND ENTTÄUSCHUNG VERZEHRTEN MÄDCHEN’ REPRESSION AND APATHY IN GABRIELE REUTER (1859–1941)

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(p.146) 5 ‘DIE BLEICHEN, VOM NICHTSTHUN, VON SEHNSUCHT UND ENTTÄUSCHUNG VERZEHRTEN MÄDCHEN’ REPRESSION AND APATHY IN GABRIELE REUTER (1859–1941)
Source:
The Wasting Heroine in German Fiction by Women 1770-1914
Author(s):

ANNA RICHARDS

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267545.003.0006

This chapter discusses that with a psychological insight that prefigures Freud's work, Gabrielle Reuter reveals the patriarchal notion of inherent female fragility and passivity to be a myth. It notes that her heroines are lively, energetic women whom society forces to repress their desires, and who become hysterical and/or lethargic as a result. It explains that despite the similarities in their understanding of female psychology, Reuter's work is more ‘feminist’ than Freud's. It discusses that as well as criticizing, in Aus gutter Familie and Ellen von der Weiden, the medical profession for whom the dulling of hysterical female minds or the removal of internal organs represent a cure, she launches a more direct attack than he on the society which upholds an ideal of female reserve and submission, encourages women's sexual repression, and denies them sufficient opportunity for professional fulfillment.

Keywords:   Gabrielle Reuter, female fragility, passivity, Aus gutter Familie, Ellen von der Weiden, hysteria, lethargy, Freud

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