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International Journal of Literary Culture / Internationale Zeitschrift für literarische Kultur

Ed. by Biti, Vladimir / Liska, Vivian

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SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.100

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Ein anderer Pygmalion – Techniken der Kunstbelebung in Joseph von Eichendorffs Das Marmorbild, Oscar Wildes The Picture of Dorian Gray und Georg Heyms Der Dieb

Julia Genz
  • Deutsches Seminar/Internationale Literaturen, Wilhelmstraße 50, Universität Tübingen, D-72074 Tübingen
  • :
Published Online: 2013-11-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/arcadia-2013-0027


The main issue of the Pygmalion myth is the vitalisation of an artificial woman. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses it is motivated by the intervention of Venus. This article deals with Pygmalion-like protagonists since 1800, in which the crucial point of vitalisation is no longer based on divine volition but on semiotic theories that Winckelmann, Lessing, Goethe and others used in the eighteenth century. In these cases, the protagonist’s perspective gives rise to the impression of vivification. The examples of Joseph von Eichendorff, Oscar Wilde and Georg Heym show that this shift also had an impact on the narrative techniques, for their concreteness allows the reader to retrace the vivification of the figures himself. In the twentieth century Georg Heym modernised the techniques of the eighteenth century by connecting them with associations of the new medium film. In the course of time the pygmalionic observer turns into a pygmalionic narrator, whose narration obtains with the aid of the reader an enormous vitality.

Keywords: Pygmalion,; semiotic theories / Zeichentheorien,; mediality / Medialität,; narrative techniques / Erzähltechnik,; 18th–20th century / 18.--20. Jahrhundert.

Julia Genz

Published Online: 2013-11-01

Published in Print: 2013-11-01

Citation Information: Arcadia. Volume 48, Issue 2, Pages 411–435, ISSN (Online) 1613-0642, ISSN (Print) 0003-7982, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/arcadia-2013-0027, November 2013

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