Portland State College. Department of Foreign Languages
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in German
World Languages and Literatures
1 online resource (2, v, 81 leaves)
Franz Michael Felder -- 1839-1869 -- Criticism and interpretation
This thesis [written in German] is the first known study to analyze the writings of the Austrian, Franz Michael Felder, as an educative device, which the author himself utilized to enlighten and instruct his country folk in Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg. An attempt is made to uncover the basic message inherent in all of Felder’s works: close family relationship, high moral standards and diligence are important to him; he fights petty prejudice, meaningless tradition and hypocrisy. The many native customs peculiar to the region are, of course, immanent in his literary production and, what is particularly significant, he stages a continuous battle against the social and political pressures of the time. He sees the need for community action in pooling meager resources to combat influential outside monopolies which stifle the economy of his remote alpine region. Franz Michael Felder’s message is somber. It lacks the folksy homespun qualities observed in similar writers, such as Rosegger, Gotthelf, Hansjacob , Huggenberger, Löns, Schönherr and Ludwig Thoma. Felder educates his people to a better understanding of themselves and a greater tolerance of others. He seeks equality of rights and equal justice for everyone. With a seriously discerning attitude he probes local problems confronting his people; these he portrays in true to life situations, attempting to search the causes. While Felder does not advocate to change customs and established ways of life, he wants to better his people’s situation for their own welfare and self-improvement. Felder’s literary importance is manifold: he writes from true experience, which he incorporates into beneficial teaching for his people; Austria in its entirety and much of Europe is quite akin to the style of rural living described by Felder for the Vorarlberg. Thus he captures a true picture of nineteen-century village life with its economic and social implications. This study treats of Felder’s literary achievements only. It casually mentions his other, more visible accomplishments, such as the foundation of a dairy association, an agricultural produce co-op, a cattle insurance company, a weaving co-op. He established a library and a reading club. This he did in a relatively brief span of time for he died at the age of twenty-nine. Not only did Felder make material life easier for his countrymen, he freed them spiritually as well. The research of this thesis concludes that Felder, though relatively unknown in literature is possibly the most influential and lasting of all Vorarlberg writers. His description does not have the pastoral serenity usually peculiar to village tales; there is little to see of the pretty mountain landscapes, or the cool green meadows with rustling brooks and cowbells ringing. Felder does not indulge the reader – instead he describes reality, actual people and their problems – the reader gets what he needs. This, then, is the universality of Felder’s work: in essence, he reflects truth.
Stones, Richard Deal, "Franz Michael Felder: Bregenzerwälder Dorfgeschichten und Schriften; eine Erziehungsstudie" (1966). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 446.