"Das Eigentliche bleibt doch zurück." : Zum Problem der semantischen Unbestimmtheit am Beispiel von Theodor Fontanes Effi Briest
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyse the notion of indeterminacy in Theodor Fontane´s social novel Effi Briest. The study is interdisciplinary in that the notion of indeterminacy involves both literary scholarship and linguistics. In the survey of the research field, it is shown that linguistics uses the notions of polysemy, ambiguity, and vagueness, while literary scholars use the notion of lacuna or indeterminacy. This interdisciplinary approach is relevant to one of the main purposes of the thesis, namely to create a typology of indeterminacy in a literary text, taking Fontane´s novel Effi Briest as the point of departure. According to this typology, indeterminacy can be divided into six categories: lexico-semantic polysemy, syntactico-semantic ellipsis, grammatical function words with unclear reference, kinegrams, silence, and interruption of the narrative and the dialogical structure of the text. With this typology it is possible to make linguistic as well as literary distinctions and to point out new ways of reading the novel. The notion of indeterminacy and its subdivisions is used in this thesis to analyse six excerpts that are crucial to the understanding of the setting and the characters of the novel. This method makes it possible to reconstruct the texts and to find alternative interpretations that have not been considered in earlier Fontane criticism. The textual analyses constitute a broad critique of previous readings of Effi Briest. This criticism also draws parallels to the analyses of the specific excerpts in focus.
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