Sandra Martina Schwab

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Publications

"'It is only with one's heart that one can see clearly': The Loss of Sight in Teresa Medeiros's The Bride and the Beast and Yours Until Dawn." Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. (scheduled for 2013)
How is disability, in particular visual impairment, used in romance fiction? This essay explores the use of blindness and the loss of sight in two historical romances by American author Teresa Medeiros. While in The Bride and the Beast (2001) the inability to see is caused by darkness and leads to insight and (self-)knowledge, the hero of Yours Until Dawn (2004) has been blinded in battle. Though the novel contains a number of similarities to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847), a comparison with the Victorian classic shows that Medeiros rejects various dominant cultural stereotypes about visual impairment and disability  such as the disempowerment and perceived helplessness of blind characters.


"The Use of Allusion in Apitz and Kunkel's Karl Comic Books." Comics as a Nexus of Culture. Ed. Mark Berninger, Jochen Ecke und Gideon Haberkorn. Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy, 22. Jefferson: McFarland, 2010. 99-107.

Ever since the publication of Der Spätlesereiter in 1988, the stories about Karl – all set in late 18th- / early 19th-century Germany – have enjoyed an immense success, which even resulted in spin-off wine books and mystery novels.  The popularity of the Karl comics written by Michael Apitz and Eberhard and Patrick Kunkel might be explained by the (local) setting, but also by their particular brand of humour. Much of this humour stems from the allusions, many of them intertextual  and intermedial references, which are woven into the text and the pictures. My articles deals with the means the authors and the illustrator employ to establish these allusions and how they use them within the context of their stories.
   

"History and Nostalgia in W.M. Thackeray's The Newcomes." 'My age is as a lusty winter': Essays in Honour of Peter Erlebach and Thomas Michael Stein. Ed. Bernhard Reitz. MUSE 15. Trier: WVT, 2009. 139-48.
History and memory play an important role in W. M. Thackeray's major novels: not only are they set in the past, but several of them also take the form of fictional autobiographies; or if the narrator is not directly  involved in the action (as in The Newcomes), he tells of events that happened in the time of his youth. G. K. Chesterton, writing in 1913, called Thackeray "the novelist of memory – of our memories as well as his own. [...] Thackeray is  everybody's past – is everybody's youth".
   
Many contemporary readers and reviewers praised Thackeray for his accurate, life-like descriptions of people and society, as well as for his attention to detail. Yet just as the Pre-Raphaelites present an idealized image of history, Thackeray frequently  grants his readers only a blurred or glorified view of historical detail. In The Newcomes in particular, the act of conjuring up the past is often accompanied by rampant nostalgia.
   
This article explores how in The Newcomes the discrepancy between the real historical past and the remembered, fictional past creates an ironic tension that serves to subtly undermine either the narrator or the characters, and to comment on their flaws  and ambitions.
   

"What is a Man?: The Refuting of the Chivalric Ideal at the Turn of the Century." Beyond Arthurian Romances: The Reach of Victorian Medievalism. Ed. Jennifer Palmgren and Lorretta Holloway. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 217-231.
In the last decades of the nineteenth century, Victorian society was thrown into a crisis: Darwin's writings had challenged all the old beliefs about God's creation and man's place within it. The losses in the imperial wars had led people to question  the basic Victorian concept of progress. Democratic reforms had begun to erode the old power structures within society, while new laws concerning marital property and divorce had imbalanced the powers within marriage.  Thus, masculinity itself had suddenly  become unstable and was thrown into a crisis of its own. What help then could a nostalgic yearning for bygone ages offer when dealing with modern times? Consequently, from the 1890s onward the medieval ideal came under increasing attack, and this is especially  true for the image of the knight in shining armor.
    

"Mythische Motive im Siebten Kreuz von Anna Seghers." Argonautenschiff 10 (2001): 240-252.
From an early age, Anna Seghers enjoyed folk tales and legends, and the oral tradition held a great fascination for her, which also becomes apparent in her work. Apart from her shorter texts, many of which she referred to as "legends" ("Sagen",  e.g., Die Sagen von Artemis), her novels, too, abound with references to fairy tales, legends, and biblical stories. Yet Seghers does not often remain true to her models and sources. Instead, she revises and mixes up stories until it is impossible  to say to which particular tale and which particular Bible passage she is alluding.

The article looks at one of Segher's greatest works, Das siebte Kreuz, set in Nazi-Germany and dealing with the flight of seven men from a working camp. The article traces the sources of some of Seghers's references  in this novel and explores their relevance for the narrative context of the novel.
   

"Nationalsozialistische Propaganda in der Werkszeitung des Höchster Werkes der I.G. Farben (1937)." Volkskunde in Rheinland-Pfalz 15:2 (2000): 39-59.
An analysis of a German factory newspaper from 1937 in regard to National-socialistic content and propaganda. Read the full article here.
   

"Von Rittern, Drachen und keuschen Jungfrauen: Das Drachentötermotiv im Wandel von drei Jahrhunderten." Volkskunde in Rheinland-Pfalz 14:2 (1999): 45-61.

 
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