MonographThe Fontane Workshop Cover

The Fontane Workshop: Manufacturing Realism in the Industrial Age of PrintNew Directions in German Studies; 26. New York; London: Bloomsbury Academic, July 2019.

Das “interessanteste Fontane-Buch dieses Jubiläumsjahrs”. (Andreas Platthaus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 December 2019, p. 1)

“With The Fontane Workshop, Petra S. McGillen has written a field-changing study of nineteenth-century realism, informed by contemporary media theory and grounded in extensive archival research and historical detail.” (Press Release, MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures, December 2020)

“The Fontane Workshop ist stilistisch präzise und für ein literaturwissenschaftliches Werk maximal unterhaltsam geschrieben. Mit reichhaltigem Archivmaterial und historischem Hintergrundwissen (Fontanes Leihbücherei durch Korrespondenzen ist in dieser Hinsicht ein Highlight unter vielen) bietet die Monographie nicht nur eine neue Sicht auf Fontane, sondern darüber hinaus auf die Produktionspraktiken und medialen Verschiebungen der Epoche des bürgerlichen Realismus insgesamt.” (Christiane Arndt, Monatshefte 112.3, Fall 2020, p. 512)

“Other critics have examined authors’ notebooks in order to explain their creative process, but few have been as meticulous as McGillen. In order to follow the construction of Fontane’s creative thought, the reader will need some background in literary history, theory, and poetics. But as difficult as the theory may be, the writing is transparent, the critical view clear and easy to follow. A knowledge of German will be useful, but the many translations help enormously. The bibliography will be valued by Germanists and advanced students of literary theory. Summing Up: Recommended.” (Sol Gittleman, CHOICE Vol. 57.5, 2020)

“Petra McGillen hat eine brillante, materialreiche, wunderbar geschriebene Studie vorgelegt, die den Blick auf Fontane verändert.” (Thomas Wortmann, Zeitschrift für Germanistik N.F. XXXI–1/2021, p. 200)

From the back cover:

With an innovative approach that combines material media history, media theory, and literary poetics, this book reconstructs the great German writer Theodor Fontane’s creative process. Petra McGillen follows Fontane into the engine room of his text production. Analyzing a wealth of unexplored archival evidence–which includes a collection of the author’s 67 extant notebooks, along with an array of other “paper tools,” such as cardboard boxes, envelopes, and slips–McGillen demonstrates how Fontane compiled his realist prose works. That is, he assembled them from premediated sources, literally with scissors and glue, in an extraordinarily inorganic and radically intertextual manner that turned “writing” into a process of ongoing remix. By exploring the far-reaching implications of Fontane’s creative practices for our understanding of his authorship, originality, and poetics, this book opens up a completely new way to think about his works and, by extension, 19th-century literary realism. This conceptualization of authors’ notebooks as creative tools makes a substantial contribution to scholarship on the history of writing media in several disciplines, from German studies and literary studies to media history, and to our understanding of the relationship between mass media and literary creativity in the late 19th century.

Click here for a book summary and chapter abstracts.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters – Peer-Reviewed

Journal Articles and Book Chapters – Non-Peer-Reviewed

  • “Fontane Goes to J-School. Theodor Fontanes Englandjahre und die Entstehung journalistischer Autorität im Pre-Truth-Zeitalter.” Colloquia Germanica 52.1–2 (Fall, 2020). Special Issue on Theodor Fontane. Ed. John Lyon and Brian Tucker, 11–26.
  • “Die Karten-Ente oder Vom Sehen mit dem Bleistift. Zur Funktion der Skizzen in Theodor Fontanes Notizbüchern.” Edition Text + Kritik Sonderband: Theodor Fontane, ed. Peer Trilcke, Munich: edition text + kritik, 2019, 34–44 [invited contribution].
  • “Poetische Mobilmachung im Textbaukasten: Fontanes Kunst der Weiterverwendung – der Fall Allerlei Glück.” Formen ins Offene. Zur Produktivität des Unvollendeten. Ed. Hanna Delf von Wolzogen and Christine Hehle, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, 2018, 97–119 [substantially expanded and scholarly version of “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos,” see below].
  • “Stimmung, Raum, Landschaft. Mediale Verschiebungen der Kulturphysiognomik bei Florens Christian Rang, Leo Spitzer und Hans Gaitanides” [with Heiko Christians]. Archiv für Mediengeschichte (2007): 213–22.

Handbook Articles, Catalog Entries, and Invited Reviews

  • “Arbeitsweise: Medienwissenschaftliche Perspektive.” Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch, eds. Rolf Parr, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019 [invited contribution; submitted].
  • “Theodor Fontane: Aus England.” Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch, eds. Rolf Parr, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019 [invited contribution; submitted].
  • “Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg: Zur Entstehung, Druck- und Editionsgeschichte” [co-authored with Gabriele Radecke]. Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch. Ed. Rolf Parr, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019 [invited contribution; submitted].
  • “Kompilieren.” Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs. Eds. Heiko Christians, Matthias Bickenbach, and Nikolaus Wegmann. Köln: Böhlau 2014, 352–368 [invited contribution].
  • “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos. Fontanes bewegliche Textproduktion – Beobachtungen zum Fall Allerlei Glück.” Zettelkästen. Maschinen der Phantasie. Ed. Heike Gfrereis and Ellen Strittmatter. Marbach am Neckar: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 2013, 98–109. Marbacher Katalog 66 [catalogue of the eponymous exhibition at the Literaturmuseum der Moderne, 3/4–9/15/13; invited contribution].
  • White, Michael J. Space in Theodor Fontane’s Works: Theme and Poetic Function. IGRS Books, 2012. Monatshefte 106:2 (2014): 315-17.
  • Piper, Andrew. Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times. University of Chicago Press, 2012. Monatshefte 105:3 (2013): 489–491.
  • Berbig, Roland. Theodor Fontane Chronik. 5 vols. De Gruyter, 2010. Monatshefte 104:4 (2012): 664–667.