Seduction novel

the seduction novel is one in the official canon of the literature kinds not defined Untergattung of the society novel.

To the most prominent novels to this kind Fontanes Effi Briest “(1895) belong, to Flaubertsmadame Bovary “, (1857) and TolstoisAnna Karenina “, (1875 - 77).

Table of contents


a young woman, either daughter or wife, living in dependence, is enticed by a notorious Libertin. It releases with it sanctions , which are imposed either by the father or by the married man, and usually dies at the end of the novel.

the model

first, this model of a civil conflict up to perfection out-arranged, was in the center 18. Century the English Schrifststeller Samuel Richardson with its letter novel “Clarissa, or the History OF A Young lady” (1748).

The novel describes itself in love in 537 letters like the Londoner Libertin Lovelace with Clarissa, a virtueful beautiful one of the country. Their father tries it to force to one upon their widerlichen married man. The struggle for power with the Familienpatriarchen makes it open to attack for the seduction arts Lovelaces, yet it remains so ful that it finally kidnaps it, in a Londoner brothel keeps imprisoned, under drugs sets and rapes. Lovelace is killed in the duel. Clarissa defines itself as imprisonment for debt entehrt, becomes ill and dies.

Behind this history is a criticism of the erstarkenden English middle class at the aristocracy and its loose “French” customs. Richardsons novel defines the civil family as patriarchalisch, criticized however at the same time the misuse of power of the Patriarchen, if it concerns the choice of the suitable married man for a daughter. She is to have and from inclination marry a say, although always in conformity with the will of the father. The nut/mother is explained to modelful novel in Richardsons as weak and influenceable. It prevents the arrangements of the family head and contributes to the misfortune of the daughter.

Richardsons “Clarissa” served the moral education of the civil daughters. The basic principle of its construction and the basic character of the main figures always dip in later seduction novels. Model for Richardsons English drama of a civil family were the contemporary puritanische building literature and the moral weekly revues.

emergence of the Topos

a forerunner of the “Clarissa” is” La Princesse de Clèves “from madame Marie Madeleine de La Fayette, appeared 1678. The action plays in the year 1559. Marriagable a high-noble girl become is gotten by its verwitweten nut/mother from the Klosterpensionat to Paris and married, after a first-class portion smashed itself, at the princes (=Fürst) by Clèves. This loves it from the first moment, it against it has only sympathy for it. A ball at the yard it discovers on the duke of Nemours and both falls in love as met from lightning. Nemours is a turned and good-looking man, who has already dear shanks behind itself, of the princess to now however only think can. This thinks just as frequently of it, has however debt feelings and tries Nemours to extract. In this sense it asks its man to permit it the retreat from the yard to. When he wants to know the reason, she opens to him that she fell in love, but everything to risk wants to remain faithful for him. Despite this faithful and virtue proof he grämt himself so much that he becomes ill and dies. The princess could marry Nemours, which loves her still, now, but withdraws her from the society and becomes pious. With a last meeting she explains to him the fact that also she still loves him but not by its unfaithfulness which can be expected sometime would like to be disappointed. Above all however she found to her soul peace and does not want to risk these not. From this it withdraws into a monastery and dedicates themselves their Frömmigkeit.

1771 appeared Sophie of La Roches first novel “history of Ms von Sternheim “, first however anonymous. Also this is a letter novel. Sophie star home is the daughter of a high-decorated civil one and a noble one. Their nut/mother dies early, their father as her twenty is. She comes to an aunt to a yard. There it is to be arranged for the prince without its knowledge as Mätresse. Lord Derby, an English Libertin tries at the same time to win it for itself. The examination of Sophies virtue takes place under the eyes of the Höflinge and observed from lord Seymour, which loves Sophie, but doubts its virtue. A plot Derbys and an error Seymours bring Sophie to marry and with it flee Derby secretly. But the priest was wrong and Derby leaves Sophie, because he fails because of its cold weather. Sophie begins a charitable life, by lord Derby is kidnapped however again and kept imprisoned. Is gets sick, seems already died, however in the last moment by lord Seymour is errettet and marries it.

In this adventurous novel above all the English against the French and the middle class argue against the höfischen aristocracy. The aristocracy exposes itself as corrupt and immoral, by making a woman the object of the plot and sexual longing. The young heroine sets her virtue against it, which exists particularly in a persistent Unsinnlichkeit and Unverführbarkeit.

In the seduction novels written by female authoresses a certain normative self-sufficiency is awarded to the young women. They recognize their victim role in the fight of two men, who stand for two different society classes, and survive, as long as they refuse the except-conjugal Sexualität. If they do not create that, they die.


in 19. Century is the woman, who is enticed, not in the sphere of influence of a father, but in that of a married man, who exhibits however age and Gehabe of a father.

George sand (1804 - 1876) defined 1832 in its novelIndiana “the young heroine as a noble savage, who can become lucky outside of the civilization only. Indiana comes from a South Seas island. It is Kreolin. Sand represents it on the one hand as lasziv and slowly-acting, on the other hand however than sexually unerregbar and courageously. It is married with that much to old Colonel Delmare. That Paris Aristokrat de Ramière tries to entice it. Indianas husband is absent during these seduction attempts and the house friend Ralph the office of the virtue guard transferred. The execution of the Veführung is prevented of the Rückkunft Delmares. It takes it to Paris. Indiana flees however with Ramière, which has at one time inhibitions, Delmare too would amount to. Indiana tries to drown and by Ralph is saved. Again Indiana tries to combine with Ramière, goes down themselves however regarding confusions of the July revolution regarding France . Again it is saved by Ralph. In the meantime its man Delmare died. Ralph and Indiana duck-cover their latent love to each other, decide the common Suizid and jump a Wasserfall down there. Only in an later attached chapter we experience that the pair in the wilderness of the South Seas island survived.

Sand equates politics in its novel with women. If the leader Ramière thinks of politics, it thinks of women and what it can reach, if it associates itself with certain women. Indianas role in the novel consists of resisting the collection by politics and thus by men. It stands for the figure of the noble wild one. Their view of the society is naive and unpolitical. After the erring of its senses (the sexual execution of adultery did not find) it can survive either at all, which describes that together Suizid with Ralph, or only outside of the civilization on an island to live on. Sand civilization criticism is radical and general.

In 19. Century is directed the society criticism, which is in all seduction novels, no longer with priority against aristokratische ways of life, but against excrescences of the civil or smallcivil life. The death of the heroine at the conclusion of the novel fascinated thereby above all male authors.

Fontanes Effi Briest becomes as childlike and playful young woman at Instetten, which former Bewunderer of their nut/mother marries. In this novel the nut/mother represents the principle of the convention, while the father appears to the daughter as too more indulgent, but human and pitiful friend. Instetten leads its young wife into a house, in which the ghosts of dead ones prevail. Effi office for association in their fears. It succumbs to the arts more alive major Crampas, a well-known woman hero. Instetten, than he supplies the common child, finds years later love letters in the cabinet of its wife. It kills Crampas in the duel and offends its wife. Effi gets sick and dies.

Also Fontane designs the drama in such a way that weaknesses of parents (indulgence on the one, to large severity on the other one) appear as the breach, in which the misfortune to the course comes. Also Instetten commits a role error. It behaves not like a loving married man, but like a father, who keeps imprisoned the boy woman in a system of fear. Thus the leader gets his chance, which with French Leichtlebigkeit one associates also here. Effi remains the eternal child, who insight into its acting does not have and by its Naivität entzückt. Thus it remains victim of the socio-political chess moves that it surrounding “adults”. For it, the eternal innocent-guilty child, gives it therefore no other way out than early death. Effi is an art figure without own reflexive dimension. Differently than Richardson Clarissa, which actively and eigensinnig does not take on a debt, which does not have it at all, understands to Effi fate up to the conclusion.

Flauberts Emma Bovary is likewise married with a man, who does not satisfy its Sinnlichkeit. It can be enticed successively by several men. Completely consciously it copies the life at the French yard in a provinziellen poor copy . Finally it is highly indebted, poisons themselves and dies.

Flaubert judged its figure as a woman of “somewhat perverser nature”. Emma do not succeed, from the plates of civil dreams of romantic love and the noble life separate. Their protest against smallcivil tightness in the province been based on considerations, but does not run unreflected sinnlich. The language artist Flaubert always shows his novel heroine the point of view of the men, who desire her. Emma defines itself, it exclusively by the view that it surrounding men is never defined. It appears thereby as object of the male view, as Ausbund to male conception from a enticable woman. Their history framed of the history of its man Charles, to which the first and last chapter of the novel belong.

the catholic kind of play

Flauberts novel reveals a remarkable difference to the original “model Clarissa” in the Protestant culture area. While for the Protestant woman a case of sin is enough, in order it death to weihen, knows the catholic Sünderin, since there is the Beichte and Absolution, several times “falls”.

In Germany is the Spanish novel hardly admits “La Regenta “(1884) from Clarín, alias of Leopoldo Alas (1852-1901), which belongs in Spain to the literature canon.

The title heroine Ana Ozores de Quintanar is married with a much to old man, who is interested only in the hunt, and sees themselves suspended to the seduction attempts of the priest Fermín de Pas and the notorious dear ore in, Alvaro Mesía. Also in this case the leaders are men, who are not merged into a civil family life. The married man is a Patriarch with weaknesses also here. Ana enstammt besides a destroyed family. Their nut/mother was dearless, their child girl had changing lovers.

Clarín describes for the first time a young woman, who suffers from hysteria, as she at that time by Paris neurologists Jean marine the Charcot (1825 - 1893) was described. 1881 had the Viennese physician Joseph Breuer with its female patient Ann O. the discovery made that the physical symptoms of the hysteria disappear, if the trauma, which released it, is regenerated. Anas of pristerlicher leaders appears also first as a soul physician , abuses the confidence of his “female patient” then however. Clarin does not only anticipate elements of the psychoanalysis , like it victory mouth Freud only few years later developed, Clarín is probably a first author, who attributes hysterische symptoms to a sexual abuse of women in their childhood, even if he in the novel only suggest that Ana was abused by the lovers of its nut/mother. Ana, in smallcivil tightness imprisoned, comes into a schwärmerische falling in loveness into the love and resembles thereby Emma Bovary, which loves also no concrete man, but the romantic idea of the love.

Ana does not die at the end of this novel. But it discharged from “purify” society and is thus socially dead. The last scene shows it in the church as gedehmütigte booty of everyone. She is kissed by a church servant, who did not near-dare so far to her.

socio-political background

victim of the social fight of the middle class for self definition and moral supremacy against the old aristocracy is always a young woman. Seduction novel does not have to do anything with Frauenemanzipation, to place ogbleich it a woman into the center (and titles) of a novel. In these novels the young heroine carries usually naive, schwärmerische and/or childlike courses. About it the male representatives of two society classes argue: The family father of a erstarkenden middle class, which want to determine the customs and life rules, and the old aristocracy or Klerus with its baroque tradition of sexual liberty, which is a means of the policy at the same time.

To the middle class it concerns to define patriarchalisch organized family and marriage as inviolable and define themselves thereby against the Unmoral of the höfischen aristocracy. This concerns an almost ark-typical fight for it, whom the young women belong, which is led on aesthetic level. The seduction novel defines the civil family as stronghold of feeling, obedience and sexual Abstinenz. The disaster develops if parents or married men weaknesses show. To the weaknesses exactly the same large severity and brutality belong such as indulgence and watchfulness lacking over the daughters to.

Each of these novels is meant society critical. However the authors become rare thereby the woman fairly. They want to represent not the right of young women to self-determination, but demonstrate, to what deadly consequences the lack at watchfulness and impulse control have. They tell of the danger of female Sinnlichkeit for the structure of the civil family and society and are coined/shaped by a deep distrust in the reason and personal responsibility of the women. Nearly always the leader has female aids. It nearly always seems constituted that a young woman cannot resist the arts of the leader.

Usually the authors concern themselves besides very many in more detail with the soul conditions, considerations, Stragien and the suffering of the men.

the female kind of play

female authoresses, who avail themselves the Topos', set for the society, which they criticize, a vague utopia against. Sand Indiana withdraws itself from the civilization. Lafazettes princess von Clèves goes into the monastery and dedicates themselves to active next love. LaRoches Sophie star home can escape from pursuit by escape and movement. They free themselves from the civil family and withdraw themselves into the two-SAMness of the love.

In their in Germany hardly 1899 the US-American authoress Kate Chopin (1850 - 1904) describes well-known novelThe Awakening(awaking) adultery and following Suizid probably for the first time as self release of a woman. The novel plays in new Orleans and on the Grand Isle.

Edna Pontellier is married and has two sons. Their history is told mainly from their view. But at the beginning of the novel it is its man, Léonce, which describes and thus introduces its wife with its eyes. Stilistisch separates only thereafter the Protagonstin from its point of view and wins self-sufficiency.

Edna bores itself at the side of its man. Young Robert living run wakes gradually its Sinnlichkeit. Finally it confesses its love to it, flees however immediately thereafter before the immorality of an adulterous Liebesverhältnisses. Ednas awaked Sinnlichkeit remains unreturned by it. It becomes besides victim of well-known woman Mrs aero being. The novel covers the duration of nine months, as long as like the pregnancy of a friend Ednas lasts. Edna recognizes that none of the possible woman roles is in accordance with it. Neither those the woman, who lives only for the art, nor the loving wife and nut/mother, still the role of the loving. Relieving their friend experiences it as unfair agony A pregnancy will avoid it in the consequence more importantly than even their own life. Sexual desire and love appear it as diversionary manoeuvres of nature, in order to secure for mankind descendant. Thereby the women play the worse part. As Edna with the return their Robert loved of relieving their friend, any longer, does not travel it finds on the Grand Isle and looks for death in the sea.

Chopins novel contains a utopian moment as it beyond itself refers to that extent to other world not existing in it. Edna places itself repeated forwards to wake up somewhere completely differently where another species humans lives. Vague uneasiness of the woman at their roles in the society for the end 19. Century bears the just as vague vision of a society, in which everything is different. Chopins novel is probably thereby first in the kind of the seduction novels, in which the Ehebrecherin would like themselves to emanzipieren and it searches. Adultery and Suizid appear thereby however as dead end to the self implementation.


  • Christine Lehmann: The model Clarissa. Love, seduction, Sexualität and death of the novel heroines 18. and 19. Century. Metzler, Stuttgart 1991 ISBN 3-476-00748-0

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