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Margaret Reif, ‘Created Wild: Criminal Children and the Bourgeois Family in German Realism, 1850-1900’

March 31, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The literary figure of the criminal child in German realism is framed not as a problem of rising industrialization and urbanization but rather as a problem of the emerging bourgeois family. Theodor Fontane’s Grete Milde (1879) and Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach’s Das Gemeindekind (1887) demonstrate how the aestheticization of structures such as the bourgeois family extends to incorporate marginal figures, including the criminal child. Through the relationship between the criminal child and bourgeois family, Fontane and Ebner reveal both the allure and danger of the emerging bourgeois family as an organizing principle in late-nineteenth century German and Austrian reality.

Margaret Reif is a doctoral candidate in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies. Her research interests include the cultural history of childhood, postcolonial theory and fairytales. Her dissertation Disruptive Organizers: Wild Children in German Realism, 1850-1900 examines the literary movement of German realism through the representation of children.

Moderator Priscilla Layne of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures will guide the lecture. This seminar is part of the NC German Studies Seminar & Workshop Series.


March 31, 2019
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Hamilton Hall, Room 569
102 Emerson Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States


Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures