Wilhelmine and The Life and Opinions of Master S - Masterworks of the German Rococo and Enlightenment

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These two works were best sellers when they appeared and were reprinted numerous times. The obvious link between the two works is the couple at the centre of both. With Wilhelmine (1764) Thummel, a petty nobleman and court official, gave German literature its finest example of a mock epic among the many produced in the wake of Pope's Rape of the Lock. In telling of a village pastor's successful attempt to gain the hand of his beloved,Thummel also showed what could be accomplished within the confining Horatian aesthetic of the German Rococo. Nicolai, a leading figure of the Berlin Enlightenment, took Thummel's couple and showed their life after marriage. Intracing the misfortunes of Sebaldus and family, he delights in savaging church orthodoxy, idealistic philosophy, sentimentalism, and pietism. It has been called the first realistic German novel.

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