Jakob Wassermann e Kaspar Hauser, 100 anos depois.

Luis S. Krausz


This article draws a parallel between Jakob Wassermann's interest in the history of Kaspar Hauser, which led him to write a novel still considered as the most eloquent literary rendering of this episode, and his own situation as an outsider in German culture. Wassermann's feeling of alienation towards his own country is expressed in his autobiography, titled “Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude” and his “Kaspar Hauser” is seen here a kind of "estrangement novel", a term which is a counterpoint to the traditional German concept of Bildungsroman. In this respect, it displays some striking analogies with works by later authors, who have drawn this specifically Jewish-German genre to a kind of paroxysm, such as Franz Kafka and Elias Canetti. A novel by an author usually seen as a conservative thus reveals an unexpected avant-garde aspect, which in certain ways foresees the future development of Jewish-German literature. On the other hand, Wassermann's critique to the Bismarckian mentality, which dominated Germany in the first half of the19th. Century, appears to detect some tendencies crucial to the development of German political life in the early 20th, century.

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