Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Dora and her Sisters: Control and Rebellion in Hermann and Schnitzler

This dissertation examines the rebellions of marginalized female characters in six works by Georg Hermann and Arthur Schnitzler. In doing so, it brings works to the fore that have been underestimated by literary criticism; the two Schnitzler plays were overshadowed by his later work, and Hermann's body of work was never seriously reappropriated by scholarship after the Second World War. This dissertation also contributes to scholarship on the period, because it examine4s these works as cultural products. Taking as my premise George Mosse's assertion that artistic production is indicative of its age, I read these works as evidence of social discourses on gender and power around 1900, thereby adding to the evidence examined in socio-historical texts. In the introduction, I discuss the social framework in which the literature is to be read, giving an overview of the authors' lives and backgrounds. I then explain the relevance of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic work, indicating why his case study of Dora can be read alongside fiction. In each of my three chapters, one work by Schnitzler is compared with one by Hermann. First, the social setting in which the female characters find themselves is established. Socio-historical scholarship is then drawn upon, in order to delve more deeply into the role that these characters play. In the first chapter, the physical categories of the prostitute, the femme fatale and the corpse are discussed through the works of Fran├žoise Barret-Ducroqc, Carola Hilmes, and Elisabeth Bronfen. In the second, the intellectual categories of the actress and the New Woman are informed by studies by Deborah Gorham, Tracy Davis, and Ann Heilmann. In the third, Gayle Rubin's discussion of the traffic in women is linked to the discourse on hysteria, as found in the works of Freud, Bronfen, and others. Having thus set the stage, each chapter then investigates the female characters' rebellion from these categories, into which they are expected to fit, be it through suicide, withdrawal from society, or hysteria. In conclusion, I argue that while Schnitzler's works have been amply studied, much more is yet to be written on Hermann's wealth of literature