Title

The Holunder Motif in Kleist's Das Kathchen von Heilbronn and Its Nineteenth-Century Context

Abstract

Present-day audiences of Kleist's Das Käthchen von Heilbronn are reluctant to view the heroine's notorious and seemingly unmotivated inclination to talk in her sleep as much more than an unfortunate "romantic" trapping. However, an examination of pharmacological and folkloric sources concerning the Holunderbaum lends plausibility to Käthchen's behavior and shows the Holunder motif to be central to the theme and the dramatic development of the play. Because nineteenth-century readers understood the powerful symbolic content of the motif, writers who followed Kleist did not hesitate to employ this poetic device as well.

Publisher

Wiley

Publication Date

Summer 1-1-1991

Publication Title

German Quarterly

Department

German

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.2307/406393

Language

English

Format

text

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