Type (literature)

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A type ( Latin , from ancient Greek τύπος týpos , German ' shape ' , ' blow ', 'stamp') describes a figure provided with fixed characteristics in literary studies . In drama , she usually belongs to the comedy staff (while the characters in tragedy should not be coarse, but individualized). For example, literature knows the type of the cunning hero, the horned husband or the lonely thinker.

In ancient times , the types were traced back to mythological figures. A detailed type theory comes from Theophrast , who influenced the comedy poet Menander . Horace then related his own type theory to social distinctions. Jean de La Bruyère took up Theophrast's character theory and tried to apply it to the satire and comedy of his time.

Typing always has to do with increased comprehensibility or recognizability. The late medieval theater knew the allegory , which should not represent the individual, but the general. Traces of such allegories can still be found in Shakespeare's theater , such as Vice as the type of villain .

The typical character of the characters in modern theater was related to the impromptu acting of the actors, which was common until the 18th century. Successful " funny people " became naturalized. The role of the actor, developed through improvisation, and a standing role as a literary specification can overlap around 1800. In the type games of the Commedia dell'arte typing is used for conscious mockery. Their servant and master figures have survived into the 20th century.

Since the later 18th century, the serious type of character role has developed , in which a coarseness is viewed as individualization (such as the "national typical " in character dance , see also stereotype ). Instead of comedy, it was supposed to create “ concern ”. Psychology has linked this type of typification with ancient tradition and coined the term “archetype” as a fateful model, as with Oedipus or Electra .

A more modern use of this term in literary studies goes in this direction: Here, type is often understood as a substitute for a material and its content or its problematic. In this sense, we have already spoken of the Don Juan type or the Faust type . The literary “type of the misunderstood woman” then serves to summarize and limit a material tradition by readers and critics.

Individual evidence

  1. Hiltrud Gnüg: Don Juan's theatrical existence: type and genre . Munich 1974
  2. ^ Günther Mahal: Faust. The traces of a mysterious life , Reinbek near Hamburg: Rowohlt 1995
  3. Bettina Klingler: Emma Bovary and her sisters. The misunderstood woman - variations of a literary type from Balzac to Thomas Mann , Rheinbach 1986