Von der philosophisch-moralischen Erzählung zur modernen Novelle
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The treatise deals with the pre-history of the modern French novella, which has constituted a new paradigm of genre history within the field of short narrations since 1829. Contrary to claims that Mérimée's, Stendhal's, and Balzac's novellas have nothing in common with the narrative of the 18th and early 19th century, it is intended to demonstrate that the latter provides an arsenal for the renewal of the genre around 1830. A relatively stable consciousness concerning the genre, clearly differentiating between conte and nouvelle until the mid-1760, functions as starting point. This duality, however, starts slackening when the successful conte moral transcends into the field of the nouvelle - an event which robs the terms conte and nouvelle of their distinctiveness. Both of the two most popular themes of the conte moral, namely marital development and education, are realized in a couple of textual strategies which are - despite a change in social conditions - continuing up to the first two decades of the 19th century. This continuum usually involves distortion, parody, and afunctionality. Simultaneous to the transformations maintaining this system, the observer also traces transformations breaking those rules as seen in the works of Diderot, Mme de Staël, Sade, and Balzac, which makes it impossible to integrate their narrations into the harmonized ideology of the conte moral. The nouvelle receives further impulse from the "true story", which can be settled somewhere between journalistic information and literary fiction. It is a heterogeneous field of narrations sharing the reference to the reality external of literary fiction and the themes of the unexpected, the inexplicable, and the violation of the rules. The techniques, methods and themes developed by the narrative of the 18th century are endowed with new meaning by the French Revolution. Characteristic bundles of the modern novella are elaborated by the cooperation of several concepts - "the exotic and distance", "antithesis and paroxysm", "denouement and temporality, as well as "ambiguity and the secret" - creating a new synergy. The novella meets the growing need for texts mainly concerned with the creation of suspense by its accentuated temporality and its mode of reception aiming at fast consumption. The fantastic novella may be understood as an extreme variation of the modern novella based on the typical antithetical structure. The historical increase in the usage of supernatural elements in the field of short narratives indicates that dealing with the irrational evokes a development of frame stories displaying a more complex structure which equips the novelistic event itself with an amplified aesthetic component.