Grünender Wald, gebannter Ort und Palast der Fee: Zum Verhältnis zwischen Mensch und Natur in Franz Grillparzers Melusina

Daniela Hempen


This article examines the relationship between humans and nature in Franz Grillparzer’s Melusina (1823). In contrast to the hunting forest, the aristocracy’s playground, untamed nature appears as a largely inaccessible and frequently hostile ‘otherworld,’ populated by mythological animals, such as the White Stag and the nymph, and comprised of topical places, such as the locus amoenus. Grillparzer uses nature elements integral to medieval tales of the Mahrtenehe and to early modern and romantic tales of Melusina—such as the hunting forest, the medieval wilder walt, as well as the locus amoenus and locus terribilis—to present his audience with a new view of nature. Most importantly, the nymph Melusina herself becomes the symbol and voice of untamed nature. Although impossible to control, nature can still become a victim of civilization. In the successful relationship between Raimund and Melusina Grillparzer demonstrates that the dichotomy between civilization and untamed nature can be overcome if humans accept nature on its own terms, much as the lover Raimund comes to accept Melusina. Raimund’s changed view of Melusina is a reflection of the growing movement to value and protect the natural world and thus of the emerging Naturschutzbewegung in 19th century Germany and Austria. (DH; in German)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.