Goethe's Mignon and Her Reception

(2129 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Beside Heine’s Lorelei, Mignon (from French “cute”, “darling”) has become the most successful heroine of German literature with a European-wide echo in fiction, music, and painting since her appearance as an enigmatic character in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre [Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, 1795-96] and the first separate publication of her four songs in 1815. After Wilhelm buys her freedom from a brutal circus-troupe director, who had abducted her in Italy and used her as an acrobat in a male outfit, she devotes herself completely to her savior whom she grows to love in secret and unrequited. What shaped her reception as a larger-than-life figure is her mysterious background, her poetic existence, a…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Hoffmeister, Gerhart. "Goethe's Mignon and Her Reception". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 October 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=17656, accessed 29 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Comparative Literature, Reception, Influences