The Boundless Present

Space and Time in the Literary Fairy Tales of Novalis and Tieck

The Boundless Present

178 pp., 6 x 9, notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5711-0
    Published: May 2020

University of North Carolina Studies in Germanic Languages and Literature

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This volume is a study in the Romantic reshaping of space and time to evoke the fantastic interior landscape and the temporal dynamics of subjective experience. Close textual analysis is coupled with frequent reference to literary and intellectual history in the reassessment of the narrative art of Novalis and Tieck.

The author examines Novalis' Hyazinth und RosenblĂĽte, Atlantis, Arion and Eros und Fabel as well as Tieck's Der blonde Eckbert and Der Runenberg. A concluding chapter examines spatio-temporal patterns in the Romantic fairy tale at large.


"Among the abundance of scholarship treating the Romantic Kunstmärchen, Gordon Birrell's The Boundless Present constitutes a significant and original contribution. The importance of the study. . . is derived not solely from the ingenuity of Birrell's spatial and temporal approach to selected Kunstmärchen by Novalis and Tieck. Rather, the particular success of this study lies equally in its contribution to our understanding of the Romantic Kunstmärchen as a genre, based on the author's convincing extrapolations from the specific works treated here."--MLN