“Nestled in the arms of nature: Women’s Ecological Entrepreneurship in the Novels of E.Marlitt.”

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Nature features in a variety of ways in Marlitt’s work. On the one hand, there is the more abstract discussion on women’s nature, represented by a wide variety of female characters whose different versions of femininity often enter into violent conflict. On the other hand, nature, in the form of flaura and fauna, features prominently in the works as a contrast to the dangers of inhumane and unnatural capitalism. Concentrating on her novel In the Councilor’s House (1872), my presentation explores the way in which Marlitt utilizes the discourse of nature and naturality (Natürlichkeit) to validate her character’s unconventional accomplishments both as social reformer of her community as well as her success as an artisan entrepreneur who manages the village mill. Whereas the young woman’s social and economical efforts are portrayed as being in unison with nature, they are at the same time shown as extraordinary, when contrasted with the works and accomplishments of her nouveau riche relatives, whose success is solely based on financial speculation and factory workers’ exploitation. This close alliance with nature not only serves as a positive contrast to the unnatural and inhumane effects of capitalism, as portrayed by the stock market and the factory, but also as a way to legitimize female intervention and active participation in the public sphere and the professional field.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Nov 13 2009
Event51st Annual Convention MMLA - St.Louis
Duration: Nov 13 2009Nov 13 2009


Conference51st Annual Convention MMLA


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