This article explores the portrayal of gender relations in Eleonore Thon's 1788 play Adelheit von Rastenberg. Thon's tragedy is characterized by a temporal displacement of its plot, which is set in medieval times. At the same time that this displacement allows the author to comment on her own society in a disguised manner, it also enables her to break free from the predominant dramatic framework of the German eighteenth century, the bürgerliche Trauerspiel. Instead of framing the question of love and emotional attachments with the conventional class conflict, Thon thematizes the characters' linguistic negotiation of a gradually changing sensibility, a sensibility that explores the possibilities of reciprocal love.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004


  • eighteenth century
  • comparative literature
  • historical linguistic
  • gender relation
  • emotional attachment


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