Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



In my thesis I discuss the relationship between Nietzsche’s concept of amor fati (love of fate) and Lacan’s understanding of sublimation through the lens of selected works by Gabriele Reuter. I argue that Reuter deploys an understanding of will power that draws on the Nietzschean concept of amor fati, which ultimately serves the function of sublimation as discussed by Lacan. In their respective efforts at establishing their own identities, the female protagonists in Reuter’s novels have to learn to overcome their sufferings, and in doing so they transform the process of identity formation into a life-affirming enterprise in the spirit of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. Language, or the symbolic order, serves as an instrumental tool for identity formation according to Lacan, whereby the father as the ultimate signifier serves as the law for symbolic order, or discourse. To become women on their own terms, all three female protagonists discussed in the thesis must break with the Name-of-the-Father – a Lacanian term discussed at length in the thesis – and enter into discourse as subjects with a sense of self separate from the physical and symbolic power represented by the father.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Professor Lynne Tatlock

Committee Members

Professor Gerhild Williams Professor Matthew Erlin


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