GHDI logo

Theodor Storm on the Genre of the Novella (1881)

page 2 of 2    print version    return to list previous document      next document

actual satisfaction. What’s more, artistically valuable new dramas are exactly the ones that seldom reach the stage or that disappear again after the first attempt, whether this is due to the inadequacy of our German actors or perhaps because – and this is connected – the writers lack a certain practical understanding of how the plays can be performed on stage. As a result, other people have taken control of the stage, and one is content with things that do not even equal the best of the Iffland-Kotzebue period. What has been thus extracted from drama, however, is of benefit to its epic sister, i.e., the novella.

Besides, writing novellas is quite similar to lyric poetry: everyone believes he is capable of doing it, but only a few experience success: and even they only succeed in those rare fortuitous moments. [ . . . ]

Source: Theodor Storm, “Eine zurückgezogene Vorrede aus dem Jahre 1881” [“A Cancelled Foreword from the Year 1881”], in Theodor Storm, Sämtliche Werke [Collected Works], ed. Albert Köstner. Leipzig, 1920, vol. 8, pp. 122-23.

Original German text also reprinted in Max Bucher, Werner Hal, Georg Jäger, and Reinhard Wittmann, eds., Realismus und Gründerzeit: Manifeste und Dokumente zur deutschen Literatur 1848-1880 [Realism and the “Founding Era”: Public Statements and Documents on German Literature 1848-1880], 2 vols. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1975, vol. 2, pp. 368-69.

Translation: Erwin Fink

first page < previous   |   next > last page