Franz Karl Stanzel

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Franz Karl Stanzel (born August 4, 1923 in Molln ) is an Austrian English scholar , literary scholar and comparativeist .

life and work

During his school days in Steyr , Stanzel experienced both the Socialist Schutzbund uprising in 1934 and the Nazi coup in July. As a member of a student organization of the Fatherland Front , he demonstrated in 1938 for Schuschnigg 's referendum for the independence of Austria, which was then prevented by the invasion of the German Wehrmacht. On March 15, 1938, two days after the invasion, he and two other demonstrators were called at night from the dormitory of the Franziskaner Konvikt Vogelsang for interrogation by an SS officer who "warned" the three students.

In the spring of 1940, Stanzel reported to the German Navy , motivated by the young people's desire to go to sea. But it was also a flight response to years of monastic upbringing and uninspiring everyday school life. After his submarine U 331 was sunk in the Mediterranean in 1942, he was one of the few survivors to be captured by the British in England and Canada. After his release he began studying English and German in Graz . He received his doctorate in 1950 with the dissertation The American Image Thomas Wolfes 1900-1938 . He describes the post-war conditions at the University of Graz after the war in The typical narrative situations 1955-2015 , as well as the completely different experience as a Fulbright student 1950/51 at Harvard University : "An intellectual rebirth." In 1955 he qualified as a professor in Graz for English philology with Herbert Koziol with the typical narrative situations in the novel .

As early as 1957 he received a lectureship for English studies in Göttingen and in 1959 he was appointed full professor for English studies in Erlangen (successor to Levin Ludwig Schücking ). In 1962 he was recalled to Graz, where he retired in 1993 . During his active time, visiting professorships at English, Canadian and American universities.

Stanzel's work on narratology was particularly successful , as can be seen from the large print runs and the numerous translations (see works). Alongside structuralism and American New Criticism , it was his active participation in the controversy, triggered by Käte Hamburger's logic of poetry (1957), that prompted him to write an expanded theory of narration (1979). His objections to Hamburger's theses were reflected in their “greatly changed” new edition of Logic in 1968. Stanzel's “Typical Narrative Situations” were also included in introductions to literary studies by Monika Fludernik , Ansgar Nünning , Jochen Vogt and others. a. found. What particularly distinguishes his approach is the closeness to the text, structuralist systematics, binary oppositions such as narrator and reflector mode, and protection through linguistic terms such as experienced speech, epic preterite, emic and etic text beginnings.

The narrative model presented by Stanzel is characterized by three so-called narrative situations: the first- person narration (here the narrator is also the protagonist on the plot level of the story, example: Thomas Mann's confessions of the impostor Felix Krull ); the authorial narrative situation (here the narrator, who can also refer to himself with 'I', is not one of the characters involved, but stands above the narrated world, therefore closer to the author ('authorial'), and as an authority comments on the fictional world , Example: Wilhelm Meister's apprenticeship years ); and the personal narrative situation (here there does not seem to be a narrator figure, the fictional world is portrayed through the eyes of one or more characters, often using lived speech or an internal monologue , example: Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil ).

The three narrative situations are conceived as typical in anticipation of the prototypical categories of cognitive linguistics : Individual novels only partially correspond to a typical narrative situation or even mix several of these in their text. The narrative situations are arranged on a circle (the "typological circle") to show that there are all possible forms of the narrative in the history of literature and that the fields between the narrative situations merge into one another. The peripheral first-person narrator (e.g. Serenus Zeitblom in Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus ) is a first-person narrator who is only marginally active as an acting person and is therefore already approaching the function of an editor and, subsequently, of an authoritative narrator.

In the revised form of theory in theory of narration , the three narrative situations are combined with three axes. The first-person narrative situation is associated with the person axis (identity - non-identity of the realms of being between the narrator and the world of figures); the constituent characteristic of the first-person narrative situation is that it is placed on the type circle around the pole of identity of the realms of being. The authorial narrative situation is constituted by the external perspective pole of the perspective axis (external vs. internal perspective); the personal narrative situation through the pole reflector of the axis mode (narrator vs. reflector mode). Among other things, on linguistic insights of Germanic linguist Roland Harweg based distinction between emic and etic text beginnings based distinction between Erzähler- and reflector mode set at that time a significant expansion narrative of theoretical knowledge. They developed earlier distinctions between telling and showing (Percy Lubbock) and explains the only A personal narrative situation that has existed since the late 19th century as an illusion of direct participation in what is happening through the omission of a narrator figure who has come to the fore as a mediator.

In addition to his narratological research, Stanzel also devoted himself to literary imagology and stereotype research (foreigner characters) and in 1991 organized an international symposium on behalf of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The most important result can be described as the realization that our conception of the foreign is determined more by traditional, literarily transmitted ideas (heterostereotypes) than by actual historical experiences between peoples (see works Europeans and Völkerspiegel ). With Telegonie-Fernzeugung (2008), Stanzel presented an original motif history of the central theme of Goethe's elective affinities from antiquity to Shakespeare to modern times (Ibsen, Schnitzler, Joyce, Katzanzakis and others). With James Joyce , especially with Ulysses and the so-called subtext, the echo of Joyce's years in this novel in Old Austria, 1904–1915, Stanzel has been concerned from the beginning. A summary of the scattered work is in print.

Stanzel received an honorary doctorate from the Swiss University of Friborg in 1985 and from the Philipps University of Marburg in 2015 .


  • The typical narrative situations in the novel. Portrayed to Tom Jones , Moby Dick , The Ambassadors , Ulysses and others. a. , Vienna 1955.
  • Typical forms of the novel. Göttingen 1964 (new editions).
  • Storytelling theory . Göttingen 1979 (8th edition 2008).
  • Europeans: an Imagological Essay . 2., act. Ed., Winter, Heidelberg 1998.
  • On road. Narrative theory for readers . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 978-3-525-20823-6 .
  • Telegony. Remote generation. Böhlau, Vienna 2008, ISBN 3-205-77695-X .
  • World as Text: Basic Concepts of Interpretation . Königshausen & Neumann, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8260-4669-8 .
  • Loss of a youth. Autobiography, Königshausen & Neumann, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8260-5234-7 .
  • James Joyce in Kakanien 1904–1915 . Königshausen & Neumann, 2018, ISBN 978-3-8260-6615-3 .

As a donor

  • In 2002, Stanzel set up the In Memoriam Helene Richter Foundation 1861–1942 at the German Anglist Association , which is intended to keep alive the memory of the private English scholar Helene Richter , who died in 1942 in Theresienstadt concentration camp. It was the “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous” (Ernst Bloch) of the death of Helene Richter in the concentration camp and his rescue after sinking U 331 in November 1942 that prompted him to donate this sponsorship award. The prize of 2000 euros has been awarded annually since 2003 by a jury of the German Anglists' Association for an excellent work in English literary studies.
  • Franz Karl Stanzel sponsorship award at the Bundesrealgymnasium Steyr Michaelerplatz, awarded for the first time in 2017, endowed with 1000 euros. This prize at his old school teaches young people "how important it is to reflect on current political and social trends and not to accept opinions uncritically".


In Loss of a Youth , Stanzel reports on his experience of six years of war and imprisonment . Review of a ninety-year-old on war and captivity , Würzburg 2013, the sinking of U 331 with loss of 2/3 of the crew is shown from a German and British perspective. A particularly interesting chapter from a literary-historical point of view is total loss - an ominous blank space in war literature . The volume also contains a critical analysis of the ambiguity of Admiral Dönitz's Laconia order regarding the rescue of shipwrecked people, as well as detailed descriptions of the routine of life in the Canadian POW Camp 44: program of the camp university, sport and music, escape attempts, “Drive removal and sex behind the barbed wire "etc.

The lectures at a symposium, organized by Stanzel in 1991 for the Austrian Academy of Sciences, were published together with M. Löschnigg as Intimate Enemies. English and German Literary Reactions to the Great War 1914–1918 , Heidelberg 1993. Incidentally, Stanzel is one of the few German-speaking Englishists who critically dealt with the history of English studies during the Nazi era, in English in the GRM 1933– 1945 , in Germanisch-Romanische monthly NF 52 (2002), 381–399, and autobiographical in Welt als Text, Würzburg 2011.

Web links

  • Literature by and about Franz Karl Stanzel in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Franz K. Stanzel: Why Milly is blonde. ( Memento from December 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) " Feldkirch and Mürzsteg , Weininger and Mozart : What one could call the" matter of Austria "in James Joyce ' Ulysses and also in his life story is much more complex than that of Joyce Criticism and has been registered by Joyce biographers so far. ”In: Die Presse , Spectrum, June 9, 2001.
  • Nothing against Joyce! “In his“ Joyce Alphabet ”, Kurt Palm demonstrates his knowledge of Joyce including secondary literature, enriched by an amusing fondness for associations.” By Franz K. Stanzel. In: Die Presse , Spectrum, November 15, 2003.
  • If we leave. “Was it a misunderstanding? Or did the unkempt gentleman from Dublin simply not comply in Zurich? ”On the 100th Bloomsday on June 16: How Joyce came to Austria - and why he stayed. By Franz K. Stanzel. In: Die Presse , Spectrum, May 29, 2004.
  • Bloomsday celebrations and no end? The day of remembrance in honor of James Joyce's outstanding novel Ulysses , which takes place on June 16, is celebrated worldwide with both symposia and street parties: The Story of a Phenomenon. By Franz K. Stanzel. In: Die Presse , Spectrum, June 15, 2010.
  • Delighted by chance. "He wanted to go to sea, instead English literature became his passion: Austria's best-known Anglist turns 90. Prison camps in England and Canada were my universities." In: Kleine Zeitung , August 2, 2013.

Individual evidence

  1. Details 2017 , by Harald Gebeshuber.