How much trouble does the novel Siebenkäs give native German speakers?

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Iversen
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Re: How much trouble does the novel Siebenkäs give native German speakers?

Postby Iversen » Thu Apr 18, 2024 7:03 am

I'm not a native speaker of any kind of German, but have read quite a lot of German since I officially learned the language in the mid 60s - which also is the time where my family got German stations on the telly for the first time. So I should be fairly well equipped to read Siebenkäs. My verdict is that it isn't incomprehensible, and I understand most words (with some exceptions like "flachsenfingische" - has that something to do with "Flachs", and then how?), but I can't see what Jean Paul's purpose with this particular piece of prose is. The style has something 1700'isch about it, which can't surprise since he was born in 1763, and maybe our problem reading it now is simply that we aren't used to reading this convoluted style any more.

To get a comparison I looked up the young Werther-thing by Goethe, who lived around the same time. And Goethe also liked long complicated sentences, but it is easier to see what the point of writing the stuff is: it's like walking around in a park where the pathways maybe be curvy, but you always know where you are. With Jean Paul you are rambling around in a rainforest crisscrossed by animal trails, and you haven't a clue how you got there.
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Re: How much trouble does the novel Siebenkäs give native German speakers?

Postby Nogon » Thu Apr 18, 2024 10:25 am

Iversen wrote:(with some exceptions like "flachsenfingische" - has that something to do with "Flachs", and then how?)

It's the adjective to "Flachsenfingen", a town in which several of Jean Paul's novels take place.

By the way: The novel's full name is "Blumen-, Frucht- und Dornenstücke oder Ehestand, Tod und Hochzeit des Armenadvokaten F. St. Siebenkäs im Reichsmarktflecken Kuhschnappel". :lol: No wonder that it usually gets abridged to just "Siebenkäs".
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Re: How much trouble does the novel Siebenkäs give native German speakers?

Postby Khayyam » Sat Apr 20, 2024 3:46 pm

Iversen wrote:I'm not a native speaker of any kind of German, but have read quite a lot of German since I officially learned the language in the mid 60s - which also is the time where my family got German stations on the telly for the first time. So I should be fairly well equipped to read Siebenkäs. My verdict is that it isn't incomprehensible, and I understand most words (with some exceptions like "flachsenfingische" - has that something to do with "Flachs", and then how?), but I can't see what Jean Paul's purpose with this particular piece of prose is. The style has something 1700'isch about it, which can't surprise since he was born in 1763, and maybe our problem reading it now is simply that we aren't used to reading this convoluted style any more.

To get a comparison I looked up the young Werther-thing by Goethe, who lived around the same time. And Goethe also liked long complicated sentences, but it is easier to see what the point of writing the stuff is: it's like walking around in a park where the pathways maybe be curvy, but you always know where you are. With Jean Paul you are rambling around in a rainforest crisscrossed by animal trails, and you haven't a clue how you got there.


Yeah, I've never felt like I've completely lost my bearings while reading Goethe. He seems to like to explore every side trail, but the main trail is still clear. With Jean Paul, i often don't know where the main trail is.
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