n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Ein Spruch, der wahr sei. Hans Grimms Verarbeitung eines Motivs aus Annette von Droste-Hülshoffs

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Hans Grimm's earliest colonial story, "Mordenaars Graf" is based on the South African folk legend of the father who kills his son out of love. This ties in with the Biblical story of the sacrifice of the son by the father. At the same time Grimm makes skilful use of a motif employed by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff in her 1842 novella (The Jews' Beech), where a Biblical saying is carved into the tree; in Grimm, a comparable quotation is hewn into stone. In both cases the notion of divine justice as expounded in the New Testament is raised critically. In "Mordenaars Graf" this central theme is expanded with the addition of questions of race, domination and survival as well as repressed areas of the unconscious.

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