Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

In this article, "Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the Quest for the Self," Christa Knellwolf King discusses the well-known novella, Peter Schlemihl (1814), by Adelbert von Chamisso as an interpretation of the Faust typology. Concentrating on Chamisso's transformation of the Faustian pact with the devil, it analyzes the story's reasons for subdividing the negotiations between Schlemihl and the devil into two stages: an initial exchange of Schlemihl's shadow for Fortunatus's purse of inexhaustible wealth, and the devil's subsequent effort to make Schlemihl part with his soul in exchange for regaining his shadow. The most important emphasis of Chamisso's Faustus narrative, this article argues, is that it goes beyond analyzing the craving and limits of human knowledge and certainty that characterized the early modern versions of the Faust typology in order to examine a contemporary character's quest for self-understanding.The article concludes that the irresolvable ambiguities of the story are occasioned by Chamisso's own inability to reconcile his ideals about moral and scientific integrity with the principles of a society lusting for wealth and power.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFaust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland
PublisherPurdue University Press
Pages31-45
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781612494722
ISBN (Print)9781557537584
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

Fingerprint

Devil
Faust
Wealth
Pact
Integrity
Certainty
Ideal
Self-understanding
Human Knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

King, C. K. (2017). Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self. In Faust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland (pp. 31-45). Purdue University Press.

Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self. / King, Christa Knellwolf.

Faust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland. Purdue University Press, 2017. p. 31-45.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

King, CK 2017, Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self. in Faust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland. Purdue University Press, pp. 31-45.
King CK. Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self. In Faust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland. Purdue University Press. 2017. p. 31-45
King, Christa Knellwolf. / Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl and the quest for the self. Faust Adaptations From Marlowe to Aboudoma and Markland. Purdue University Press, 2017. pp. 31-45
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