n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Goethes "nächtlich geworfene Bombe" : Die Friederiken-Episode neu gelesen

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



At the heart of Goethe's description in his autobiography of his encounter with Friederike Brion is his account of a story-telling scene : The protagonist, at that time a student of law at Strasbourg, regales his young friends, among them Friederike and her sister, with a fairy-tale of his own invention, Das Märchen von der Neuen Melusine. Goethe stresses the overwhelming impression of his narration on his listeners but withholds the actual story from his readers. An analysis of the fairy-tale, as it appeared in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, reveals fears and anxieties in the author with regard to both his own sexuality and the potential threat contained in an intimate encounter with a woman, thereby shedding an interesting light on Goethe's relationship with, and abrupt departure from Friederike.

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