Powerful Women Writers in Eighteenth Century Germany: A Comparison of the Two German Women Writers Sophie Von La Roche (Gutermann) and Dorothea Schlegel (Mendelssohn), Exploring their Upbringing, Marriages, Love, Literary Works, And Social Atmospheres
Renate Sturdevant (Committee Co-Chair), Donovan Miyasaki (Committee Co-Chair), Elfe Dona (Committee Member)
Master of Humanities (MHum)
This thesis explores the status of German women writers in the 18th century during the era of Enlightenment and Romanticism. I will examine the philosophical ideas and beliefs during these times, and the impact these ideas had on La Roche and Schlegel specifically, as well as society as a whole. While studying the life style, upbringing, and the most important literary works of the two women writers, I will show the advancements made by them towards greater autonomy for other women writers emphasizing their courage, alongside the hardship they often endured. Seeking greater recognition and freedom from male tutelage, La Roche and Schlegel took their destiny into their own hands, yet often retained, and even chose their traditional roles in life over a complete need to change their status. The question if these courageous women actually achieved advancement for future women writers is explored in detail.
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