Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 14, 2019

»Aus Trümmern von Daseyn und Ueberlieferung sich eine Zweyte Gegenwart verschaffen« – Das Sesenheim-Erlebnis bei Ludwig Tieck, August Ferdinand Näke und Johann Christoph Freieisen

Matthias Grüne


In the second and third parts of Dichtung und Wahrheit (From My Life: Poetry and Truth), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe portrays his liaison with Friederike Brion, a daughter of a pastor in the Alsatian town Sesenheim (as spelled in Goethe’s writing, actually: Sessenheim). Although the text was published 40 years after the events, and even though Goethe’s depiction is noticeably fictional, enthusiastic readers subsequently travelled to the real venues of the narrative in order to search for hidden traces of the love affair. In fact, the unclear status of truthfulness and accuracy of the narrative, as well as the distance in time, seem to have further stimulated the readers in their endeavor. This cultural tourism results in autobiographical (August Ferdinand Näke), fictional (Ludwig Tieck), and auto-fictional (Johann Christoph Freieisen) travel stories. In these texts, as this article will show, past events are not only uncovered and examined for conservatory purposes. Additionally, for one, the performative reenactment and literary adaption of Goethe’s idealistic and idyllic love story serves to preserve and uphold a certain image of the writer in these texts and to defend this image against alternative reception perspectives. For another, these appropriations of Goethe’s biographical episode articulate distinct and new concepts of individuality and identity. These texts of the so-called “Friederiken-Literatur” (‘Friederike Literature’) have significantly shaped the perception of Goethe’s text ever since.

Published Online: 2019-11-14
Published in Print: 2019-11-08

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston