The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165466 Message #3969401
Posted By: keberoxu
02-Jan-19 - 11:47 AM
Thread Name: 'Backfisch' -- was ist das ?
Subject: 'Backfisch' -- was ist das ?
Yes, it's another foray into German-language literature and culture.
I am very much the outsider looking in, as before.
This happened to me in the usual way.
I was reviewing and researching the German-language Lied, the art song, as a lifelong student of classical music.
This means, looking into the words, the lyrics, and their source material.
Although composing Lieder is a serious business, and the composers have to be thoroughly trained and schooled to do it,
the poems they set to music can come from anywhere and everywhere.
It often happens, in German fiction, that prose -- short stories, novellas, full-length novels --
have poems embedded in them, original poetry on the part of the novelist.
And so it was that, searching for a poem that had turned up in a song,
I found myself (online, of course) turning the (digital) pages
of a book titled:
Backfischchens Leiden und Freuden by Clementine Helm.
Welcome to the world of Young Adult Fiction,
in the second half of the 1800's.
Clementine Helm enjoyed so great a success as the author of fiction all about teenagers and "tweens" -- books about and for this group of readers --
that her novel, mentioned previously, became the template for
a fiction genre in its own right. It was called -- ready? --
Backfischliteratur and Backfischroman.
Madame Helm's book has a protagonist known as Gretchen, from Margarethe, a very common name for German girls.
She is fifteen or sixteen years old.
We read about roughly one year in her life,
when she lives in Berlin after being raised in the country,
and is prepared for adulthood by a widowed aunt.
Gretchen's nickname is 'Backfisch,' and even 'Backfischchen,'
hence the title.
Also : was ist ein Backfisch ??