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19.jl
19. Jahrhundert Literaturen
19th Century Literature

Last Updated 17/04/01
by Richard Grosser
  cadre@xtra.co.nz

 
 

Ludwig Joachim von Arnim
Fig. 1  Ludwig Joachim von Arnim (1781 - 1831), aka as Achim, responsible for the collaboration of authorship in the call to German Nationalism, through the collection of poetry called the Youth's Magic Horn (1805 - 1808).
 
 

This is the first of three sites chronicling the changing nature of cultures and mankind, over three centuries.  The authors described in the following feature articles, were famous or infamous, for both influencing and carefully observing, the nature of their life and times.

As a testament to these facts, note the following extract from Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoi. Here Tolstoi crafts his own observations on the changing face of Russian attitudes to women in the 19th Century, into a fictional scene.  Herein, the central character Anna, is torn, openly, between duty and passion:

 
"I am obliged to tell you that your behavior has been unbecoming
today," he said to her in French.

"In what way has my behavior been unbecoming?" she said aloud,
turning her head swiftly and looking him straight in the face,
not with the bright expression that seemed covering something,
but with a look of determination, under which she concealed with
difficulty the dismay she was feeling.

"Mind," he said, pointing to the open window opposite the
coachman.

He got up and pulled up the window.

"What did you consider unbecoming?" she repeated.

"The despair you were unable to conceal at the accident to one of
the riders."

He waited for her to answer, but she was silent, looking straight
before her.

"I have already begged you so to conduct yourself in society that
even malicious tongues can find nothing to say against you.
There was a time when I spoke of your inward attitude, but I am
not speaking of that now.  Now I speak only of your external
attitude.  You have behaved improperly, and I would wish it not
to occur again."

She did not hear half of what he was saying; she felt
panic-stricken before him, and was thinking whether it was true
that Vronsky was not killed.  Was it of him they were speaking
when they said the rider was unhurt, but the horse had broken its
back?  She merely smiled with a pretense of irony when he
finished, and made no reply, because she had not heard what he
said.  Alexey Alexandrovitch had begun to speak boldly, but as he
realized plainly what he was speaking of, the dismay she was
feeling infected him too.  He saw the smile, and a strange
misapprehension came over him.

"She is smiling at my suspicions.  Yes, she will tell me directly
what she told me before; that there is no foundation for my
suspicions, that it's absurd."

At that moment, when the revelation of everything was hanging
over him, there was nothing he expected so much as that she would
answer mockingly as before that his suspicions were absurd and
utterly groundless.  So terrible to him was that he knew that now
he was ready to believe anything.  But the expression of her
face, scared and gloomy, did not now promise even deception.

"Possibly I was mistaken," said he.  "If so, I beg your pardon."

"No, you were not mistaken," she said deliberately, looking
desperately into his cold face.  "You were not mistaken.  I was,
and I could not help being in despair.  I hear you, but I am
thinking of him.  I love him, I am his mistress; I can't bear
you; I'm afraid of you, and I hate you....  You can do what you
like to me."

And dropping back into the corner of the carriage, she broke into
sobs, hiding her face in her hands.  Alexey Alexandrovitch did
not stir, and kept looking straight before him.  But his whole
face suddenly bore the solemn rigidity of the dead, and his
expression did not change during the whole time of the drive
home.  On reaching the house he turned his head to her, still
with the same expression.

"Very well!  But I expect a strict observance of the external
forms of propriety till such time"--his voice shook--"as I may
take measures to secure my honor and communicate them to you."

extracted from, Tolstoi, L. Anna Karenina, courtesy of Project Gutenberg, e-text © 1998.
 

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