Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

German

Major Professor

Stefanie Ohnesorg

Committee Members

Adrian Del Caro, Sarah Eldridge

Abstract

Lou Andreas-Salomé is widely known for her ties to famous German authors and scholars such as Nietzsche, Rilke and Freud. However, literary critics often fail to recognize Andreas-Salomé’s own authorship. This thesis tries to paint a more nuanced picture of the author by putting her literary works at the center of attention, tracing one of the predominant topics of her literary works – questions of Christian morality. It assesses the changes in how Andreas-Salomé negotiates questions of Christian morality in those of her works that make this a central theme, namely Im Kampf um Gott (1885), Aus fremder Seele (1896), Die Stunde ohne Gott (1922) and Der Teufel und seine Großmutter (1922) – a corpus that spans almost four decades. The analysis of these texts shows an intensification of Andreas-Salomé’s critique of notions of morality over time, especially in reference to the treatment of sexuality and the institution of the Christian church in general. This goes hand in hand with an increasingly direct plea of the author to turn away from (Christian) religiosity in order to gain the moral freedom that according to Lou Andreas-Salomé is necessary to embrace all aspects of life in the most positive way. The thesis is of particular interest to scholars examining religious or moral topics with regard to Lou Andreas-Salomé’s literary works. It also lays the foundation for a comparison of her approach to questions of morality in her literary works and her philosophical essays.

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