Gottfried Keller

(2043 words)
  • Gail Hart (University of California, Irvine)

Keller is best known as one of the leading practitioners of Poetic Realism, a nineteenth-century German-language and Scandinavian prose style that sought to retain the “poetic” values of fiction in the face of an often more cynical socio-politically engaged European Realism. Literary Realism in general is widely understood as “the combination of elements [that] leads the reader to believe that the text has a mimetic relationship to the world” (Robert Holub, Reflections of Realism, Detroit 1991, p. 16). In Keller's case, this combination involves an avoidance of the fantastic (if not the improbable), and a deep emotional precision or psychological realism that endeared his work to Freud, who made frequent use of it in …

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Hart, Gail. "Gottfried Keller". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 November 2006
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]