Changing ideals of femininity
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This thesis argues that the figure of Thusnelda in literary representations of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest undergoes a dramatic transformation in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a change that parallels gender roles developing at that time. It considers how the development of bourgeois ideologies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the concomitant loss of women’s influence within public and political spheres provide a socio-political context in which we can understand Thusnelda’s literary role. It focuses on three major dramatic works dealing with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, namely the Hermann dramas of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, Heinrich von Kleist, and Christian Dietrich Grabbe.