An den Grenzen des UniversalismusHumanität bei Fontane und Joseph Roth

Abstract / DOI

At the Limits and Borders of Universalism. Fontane’s and Joseph Roth’s Account of Humanness. The article is dedicated to the concept of humaneness in the literary work of Theodor Fontane and Joseph Roth. It shows that this concept can be understood as an involvement with the problem of a humanitarian universalism. Fontanes und Roths literary treatment of limits and borders takes into account the dialectical structure of its specific dynamic. This dynamic seeks to draw consequences from the theoretical insight into the unity of mankind for the equality of human beings within concrete historical, political and social contexts. It can, thus, only become real if it is implemented in such contexts which means at the same time that it is limited by this implementation because it has to consider specific historical circumstances. Fontane’s and Roth’s option for a «concrete humaneness» can be seen as reaction to this problem as can be their own philosophical and religious visions of universality. Since both authors represent two major epochs, political and religious context of German (literary) history the comparison of Fontane and Roth reveals a complementary scheme of humaneness at the limits of universality.

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