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Keywords: children’s fiction, Die unendliche Geschichte, hermeneutics, didacticism, escapism.
For citation:

Astashchenko E.V. Religious Dimension of German “Unending Book” in the Children’s Fantasy by Cornelia Funke. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 102–117. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-102-117

Author: Elena V. Astashchenko
Information about the author:

Elena V. Astashchenko, PhD in Philology, Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature and Creative Writing, Tverskoy bul’var, 25, 123104 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: July 01, 2017
Published: March 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №1
Department: World Literature
Pages: 102-117
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-102-117
UDK: 821.112.2.0
BBK: 83.3(4Гем)75

Abstract

This article examines a fantasy genre in the work of Cornelia Funke against the background of Protestantism and “Als ob” (“as if”) philosophy. Alongside, it also explores fantastic Romantic novels written by modern German authors (M. Gläser, K. Gier, K. Mayer, and V. Moers) that champion the cult of literature and writing. The  essay thus attempts to systematize the features of German identity as revealed through representation of childhood and the national specificity of fictional art. The symbol of “an unending book” as a way of reconstructing the world is at the very basis of German culture and is endowed with religious meanings, from Novalis to M. Ende and more recently to C. Funke. In The Thief Lord (Herr der Diebe), a novel full of references to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Princess Brambilla, F. Pforr’s and F. Overbek’s paintings, Funke seeks to combine German love of dreaming with poeticized Italian joyfulness and love of life. For example, the novel’s characters discover a magical carousel on the Isle of Mysteries and set off on an existential journey. In the course of this journey, they try to recognize themselves “in other clothes that seem to belong to the past,” in a fashion similar to Heinrich von Ofterdingen. In the Inkheart trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath), the author underscores the vernicle nature of verbal reality and its power over human existence; she also touches upon the problem of the author and her literary gift. According to Funke, a human being should certainly correspond to his or her higher destination and be directed by the inner moral law. However, it is words, like prayers in late Kant, that transform and create the universe.

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