Sara’s Pain: The French Revolution in Therese Huber’s Die Familie Seldorf (1795–1796)

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Abstract

This article discusses Therese Huber’s Die Familie Seldorf (1795/6) as a novel in which the embattled female protagonist’s body incorporates the search for a new, viable body politic initiated by the French Revolution. Huber tests various late eighteenth-century discourses on femininity in the figure of Sara Seldorf: the ideal of the virtuous bourgeois daughter, allegorical representations of virginal Liberty and the image of healthy Republican motherhood. Each discursive representation fails to accommodate the violence experienced by Sara when she becomes an active agent in the political events of her time. The novel’s portrayal of the violence inflicted upon Sara’s body and of her precarious position in the new body politic expresses the late eighteenth-century uneasiness of those who, like Huber, were swept away with initial Revolutionary enthusiasm and then began to suspect that the Revolution might not have resulted in radical social change but in a different sort of revolution, a return to old patterns of violence and corruption.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemplating Violence
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Studies in Modern German Culture
EditorsStefani Engelstein, Carl Niekerk
PublisherBrill
Pages33-48
ISBN (Electronic)9789042032958
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Publication series

NameAmsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik

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Hilger, S. M. (2011). Sara’s Pain: The French Revolution in Therese Huber’s Die Familie Seldorf (1795–1796). In S. Engelstein, & C. Niekerk (Eds.), Contemplating Violence: Critical Studies in Modern German Culture (pp. 33-48). (Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik). Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789042032958_003