Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation examines the genre of the German village tale, the so-called Dorfgeschichte. Looking at village tales published between 1843 and 1897 by Berthold Auerbach, Gottfried Keller, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, and Clara Viebig, I investigate emotions of shame and examine reasons for the emergence of shameful feelings in village life and the ways in which these feelings are represented in village tales. Shame, as I will show, not only constitutes an important component of the Dorfgeschichte, but the genre itself offers a forum in which shame can be discussed. Research has shown that shame is not a modern category; I therefore ask if there is something about village tales that causes the phenomenon to reoccur in the more modern times of the nineteenth century and to become the center of literary representation. To address this question, I analyze social and moral village practices as normative moments of peasant culture, which, when violated, result in feelings of shame. My goal with this research is to advance the understanding of why shame in the village context becomes so important to literature produced in this period and what this literary significance says about village life, village communities, and possibly also about their counterpart, the urban societies of the nineteenth century.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Lynne Tatlock

Committee Members

Gerhild Williams, Paul-Michael Lützeler, Caroline Kita, Pascal Ifri


Permanent URL: