Zur Funktion des Imaginären in deutschen Römertragödien des 19. Jahrhunderts
Pages 159 - 174
Following the studies of Wolfgang Iser and Winfried Fluck the article enquires into the significance of the cultural imaginary for the analysis of literary texts. While Iser's concept of the imaginary presupposes a certain foundation/basis/grounding of the fictional text in reality, Fluck considers the cultural imaginary as a dimension which is shaped by the category of literary genre and its functions. Both positions will be examined with reference to the veritable flood tide of German Roman tragedies in the late nineteenth century which focus on the emperor Nero. The specific functions of the imaginary can be detected in the philological handling of classical quotes in the plays which aim at concordance with their sources. Those quotations are often transformed into proverbial expressions. Moreover, the genre is modified, in so far as characters who were formerly at the centre of the action are now moved to its margins.