Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck


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Why German Christmas Stories Are Awesome for Building Your German Fluency

Tieck's Wendepunkt is not a mere technical device; rather it is one of the results of that combination of the old allegorical romance form and the new "realistic" form initiated by Boccaccio that creates a new and unique genre.

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If the story begins in the world of sacred reality but reaches a point at which events seem to be accounted for in terms of psychological reality, that generic turn is what Tieck means by Wendepunkt. If, on the other hand, the tale begins realistically and turns at some point to a form in which the laws of nature or psychology do not seem to apply, that generic turning point is also a Wendepunkt. A failure to determine how past generic conventions are combined in a new way has resulted in critical difficulties with Ludwig Tieck's most famous novella , "Fair Eckbert". Walter Silz says that because the tale makes use of the supernatural, it is more a "gruesome marchen " than a novella , while E.

Bennett and John Ellis tolerate the supernatural events by calling the work a "romantic novelle " or by suggesting that, while not a marchen , it makes use of fairy tale conventions. The problem is not only that the story makes use of such fairy-tale motifs as a magical bird, a grotesque old lady, and a child who runs away from home to enter an enchanted world, but also, as Ellis notes, that characters seem to do things without any reason, and as Bennet suggests, there does not seem to be any logical connection between the events in the tale.

The logic of Tieck's tale must be understood in two different ways, for the tale contains a tale within itself, and both inner and outer tale have their own sets of conventions.

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Bertha's tale within the tale is dominated by an oneiric-logic that makes it seem predominantly like a fairy tale. However, Bertha's story differs from fairy tales because, presented as a told story of a personal experience, it becomes a self-conscious embodiment of psychological processes.

As Bruno Bettleheim has noted, fairy tales externalize inner processes; through the disguised means of story, they structure the unconscious anxieties and conflicts of the child's mind. However, they are not explicitly presented as such, nor are they taken to be such by their tellers or listeners; rather they are presented and received as tales of the supernatural, pure and simple. In this way, Tieck foregrounds the thematic nature of the marchen form as revelatory of inner unconscious processes.

That the story's subject matter is the nature of fairy tale itself as an externalization of the unconscious is made clear from the beginning of Bertha's tale. She does not leave home for any of the reasons that we usually associate with the fairy tale departure of children, i.


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Bertha's clumsiness, which makes her father scold her, reflects her failure to deal with the everyday world of objects and external reality because fantasies always occupy her mind. Because Bertha's story is about the child's retreat from the external world into the world of fantasy or fairy tale, the specific motivation for her leaving home cannot be made clear; she leaves the house scarcely realizing what she is doing, for truly her departure is an unconscious one, both in the manifest story and in its latent meaning.

Her journey into the oneiric mountains which reveal no sign of human habitation, her encounter with the strange old woman, whose face twitches so that Bertha is never sure what she really looks like, and with the bird that lays an egg each day with a pearl or gem inside are all characterized as if they were dream--even a dream within a dream, says Bertha. As the dream events become familiarized to her, the dream reality takes on the appearance of the only reality there is.

But even in this dream within a dream, Bertha falls further into fantasy when, as a result of her reading, she imagines a romantic vision of a beautiful knight who she longs to meet in fleshly reality. At this point in the story, she departs from the old woman in much the same unconscious way that she left her home, as if her "intentions were already standing before her" without her being "distinctly conscious of it.

It is inevitable, of course, in the logic of fairy tale that Bertha should return to the village from whence she came and wish to surprise her parents with her new riches.

When she finds out they are dead, she becomes self-consciously aware of the dream state as ironic wish-fulfillment, realizing, "as a result of a remarkable accident the dream of my childhood had really come true. And now it was all in vain. At this point Bertha must give up her childhood fairy-tale world; thus she kills the magical bird she has stolen from the old woman as the last remnant of that past world.

However, because the past continues to haunt her she makes a final attempt to move into adulthood by marrying the knight Eckbert; with this gesture her story-within-the-story ends. Now that we are back to the frame, which is Eckbert's story, we enter into a different realm of motivation and logic of events, for we are, comparatively speaking, "back to reality. However, after the story is told, Eckbert regrets the confidence, fearing that it is human nature that the listener will misuse the secret. This double loss of wife and closest friend makes Eckbert feel that his life seems "more like a strange fairy-tale than an actual mortal existence.

The pattern of Bertha's story is repeated as Eckbert once again has an impulse to tell the story which we assume also contains Bertha's story within it to a new friend, Hugo; and once again he experiences the conscious anxiety that he will be betrayed. He begins to see the face of his old friend Walther in the face of others as he unconsciously makes the same trek through a maze of rocks that Bertha made in her childhood.

When he hears the song of the bird that Bertha heard as a child, "it was all up with Eckbert's consciousness and his senses; he could not solve the mystery whether he was now dreaming or had formerly dreamt of a woman Bertha. The most marvelous was confused with the most ordinary--the world around him bewitched--no thought, no memory was under his control.

Eckbert falls to the ground, despairing, "In what terrible solitude have I spent my life. The key to understanding the story as Eckbert's, although most of it is taken up by Bertha's insert tale, is recognizing that Tieck foregrounds the conventions of marchen as an objectification of the unconscious. The unconscious tale is indeed Eckbert's and revolves around the problem of the self and its relationship to the "other. The story is an objectification of Eckbert's basic human situation, for it embodies the essential loneliness of the mind itself which cannot be shared with the other.

There is no "other" in this tale, only the lonely and isolated self that is Eckbert. For example, the same generic combination creates interpretative problems in Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," as the marvelous and the ordinary become confused and Brown cannot tell whether he has dreamed the events in the story or whether they have actually occurred. At the beginning of the story, Tieck leads us to believe that the frame of the tale takes place within the real world, while the story Bertha tells is marchen or dream story.

At the end of the tale, the reader realizes that the entire story is a play with "reality" as a projection of the unconscious--that Eckbert's reality is no less a story reality than Bertha's, for all is fictional reality; nothing exists outside the story, and nothing can exist inside the story except the lonely isolated self.

It is the foregrounding of this self-conscious awareness, this play with the marchen conventions and the objectifying of the unconscious as the very subject matter of "Fair Eckbert," that makes Tieck's story an advance over the marchen that precedes it and establishes it as the basis for the self-reflexive self-consciousness of short stories that follow it.

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I have been taking some time off because I have been working on a new book on the short story. Just tap on any subtitled word to instantly see an in-context definition, usage examples and a memorable illustration to help you understand how the word is used. Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.


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Our first German Christmas story was written by Ludwig Tieck. He reminisces about going to a popular fair in his hometown, where merchants sold chocolates, wooden figurines and other interesting Christmas items. He talks about how the entire fair was lit up by lanterns. It has plenty of illustrations detailing the story about how Grandma gets sick and cancels Christmas. We really enjoy this book for language learners, since it includes dozens of illustrations that correlate with the story.

As you can see, this is rather basic. Overall, the story gets you pumped about going out in the snow, building snowmen and making snowballs. If you have a desire to watch snow dropping to the ground, we recommend you check out this cute German Christmas story. To give you a taste of this book, one of the stories explains how a man is stopped by the police around the holidays and how he plans on getting out of trouble.

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In addition, numbers and dates are extensively covered, and the stories are short enough for you to quickly translate and practice without having to rack your brain or follow the complexities of a huge novel. The story is about a traveler who goes through both Germany and the Wild West of America. The title refers to a Christmas poem that consistently comes up throughout the story.

Written by the Grimm Brothers, this classic German Christmas story has been adapted and remade several times over. The story has many renditions, all of which follow a shoemaker and his wife who need to find money to pay rent. The different story renditions change how long it takes them to gain that money. Then you can go back and know the story to put more of your focus on vocabulary and grammar. You may not have the chance to see the snow falling in Germany, but losing yourself in a good story is the closest thing you can find.

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Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck
Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck
Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck
Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck
Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck
Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck Four More Tales by Ludwig Tieck

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