Die Majorin von Poggenpuhl und ihre Kinder leben nach dem Tod des Familienvaters in bescheidenen Verhältnissen. Die Familie versucht, trotz der finanziellen Nöte eine als "standesgemäß" anerkannte Lebensführung aufrecht zu erhalten. Dies ist der Rahmen für den 1896 erstmals erschienenen Roman, der den gesellschaftlichen Konflikt der Familie Poggenpuhl thematisiert. Sie steDie Majorin von Poggenpuhl und ihre Kinder leben nach dem Tod des Familienvaters in bescheidenen Verhältnissen. Die Familie versucht, trotz der finanziellen Nöte eine als "standesgemäß" anerkannte Lebensführung aufrecht zu erhalten. Dies ist der Rahmen für den 1896 erstmals erschienenen Roman, der den gesellschaftlichen Konflikt der Familie Poggenpuhl thematisiert. Sie steht in ihrem Wunsch, den Erwartungen der Gesellschaft an eine adlige Familie zu genügen, zwischen dem Festhalten an überkommenen Traditionen und der Suche nach neuen Wegen, sich der durch den Tod des Vaters veränderten Situation anzupassen. Dieser Konflikt kommt in Gesprächen der Personen untereinander und in einem längeren Briefwechsel zum Ausdruck, die eine Romanhandlung im herkömmlichen Sinn ersetzen. Fontane erprobt somit in den "Poggenpuhls" eine neue Romanform, die er im "Stechlin" vervollkommnet....
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Die Poggenpuhls Reviews
The role of luck in the pursuit of the Golden Calf coupled with an awareness of the need to play your role are the themes of this slice of life, which is to say enjoyably plotless, story.This light-hearted work, 105 pages long, written in two phases over a period of about five years is admirably short. This puts me in a good mood, it reminds me of Pascal's apology to a friend for having written a long letter, had he had more time it would have been shorter, and also because it is short. The fat novel raised up as an alter with the author's name embossed in gold on the cover suggests idolatry, and worse, a lack of respect for the readers time. Brevity is virtuous (I'll admit to sinning, particularly in reviews). It is one of Fontane's late works written concurrently with the more serious Effi Briest, which I am slowly getting near to rereading, and another Berlin novel Frau Jenny Treibel. There is a common preoccupation with status anxiety on the part of the characters and the role of the nobility in a modern society across these novels.The passing details of life in the fast growing modern city are nicely telling: the horse omnibus, the damp plaster walls when the Poggenpuhls successfully resettled in Berlin of a little flat with "wonderful views" over a graveyard and a sweet factory, the fear of criminals breaking into the home, the discussion over on which benches to avoid sitting on in the park - where is a single woman most likely to be bothered by a man. There is both similarity and distance in the list. Each generation confronts its own modernity.The nobility however are not modern. The Poggenpuhls may sleep three on beds along the walls of a corridor - called a "Berliner Saal" by their landlord - and one on a sofa, but they are of the nobility. The Matriarch, admittedly of bourgeois birth, when fearfully asking the landlord about the prospect of future rent rises is still going to be respectfully called "Frau Majorin". However the lack of assets to back up the requirements of social status produces tension. The natural tendency is to suspect that a story like this should have a plot featuring the family's success in resolving this tension. This is undercut by Fontane who has no truck with such vanity and self aggrandisement. Luck is the thing. The family may have ear marked the eldest son, serving as a nobleman should, writing on Skobelev, for the General Staff, but by the end of the novel we see that like his happy go lucky younger brother he's just a lieutenant in an infantry regiment stationed away from Berlin. Stuck, just like the actor the family meet (also a nobleman), playing the background parts. Stuck also with the realisation that promotion and success are more of a lottery and not the inevitable consequences of hard work. As in Castle Rackrent one escape from further decline and fall is a Jewish marriage. However this is also fraught with social dangers. Marriage of the younger son to the Berlin banker Bartenstein's blonde daughter, Flora, might be acceptable while marriage to dark haired Esther who lives in Torun, would not. True to Fontane's style it is the baby of the family, the sweetly named Manon who has worked out the ramifications of this and goes out of the way to state the facts to her brother.This is a shadow of the Bismarck-Bleichroeder relationship and shows some of the complexities of German-Jewish life explored in sombre essay form in Einstein's German World and points to the fineness of the aristocratic dilemma. Marriage can bring money, but marriage to the wrong person may pollute their hallowed status. No wonder the icons of familial devotion, insecurely fixed into the plaster of the home, fetishise a simpler time when a Poggenpuhl in his underwear won renown by shooting at the Austrians in the service of the Hohenzollens. Simpler times!Fate of course can intervene. How sad the note of disappointment in the second daughter's letter. Rescued from an accident by a nobleman (very good, a promising start to a romance) only to find out that he is already engaged - a leg broken in two places for nothing! Luckily it was only a leg that was broken. The talented second daughter, having no fear "even of physics and spectral analysis" can still be usefully employed painting the family crest on her Aunt's dinner service. At times one can tell that Fontane was born into family of apothecaries. The terror that George Orwell conveys in some of his writings of the possibility of being seized by the ankles, dragged down the social hierarchy, and being obliged to dwell amongst the Morlocks, is something that from Fontane's perspective can be observed with some indulgent humour.Typical of his style correspondence and dialogue are used to show character. The completely overblown consciously literary first letter of the talented second daughter is a nice example, likewise the conversation between the Frau Majorin and her brother-in-law the General Poggenpuhl - who had succeeded in making a good marriage, just unfortunately for the family, just not quite good enough for all of them to be able to benefit from it.
Fontane ist witziger als ich immer wieder denke! Leise Ironie und zum Teil sogar leichter böser Witz. Das macht wirklich Spaß!Fontane erzählt mi den "Poggenpuhls" eine kleine Familiengeschichte. Die Poggenpuhls sind verarmter Adel und leben (natürlich) in Berlin. Der Vater schon tot, die drei Schwestern noch zu Hause bei der Mutter und die beiden Brüder bei der Armee. Hauptsächlich geht es darum, wie die unterschiedlichen Familienmitglieder glauben, dass sie sich aufgrund ihres Namens z.B. benehmen müssten.Liest sich schnell und ist einfach nur sehr nett!
German Realism... reality can be quite uneventful. But I enjoyed the epistolary parts.