The "Herkules" - novel of Andreas Heinrich Bucholtz.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 09:06 by John Kenneth. Sowden
Bucholtz "Herkules"-novel is an extensive, rambling work of 1920 quarto pages and barely readable nowadays. It was very popular for the first 130 years, however, and went through seven editions and adaptations. The present study tries to account for the work's initial popularity, but at the same time emphasises that "Herkules" has many features which make it strangely antiquated even for the century in which it was written. This study further attempts to show how "Herkules" is composed of many heterogeneous elements which had accumulated from antiquity onwards. It examines some of the principal components of these literary traditions apparent in the form, content and style of the work, demonstrating how they are exploited by the author for purposes of edification, entertainment and emotive effect("prodesse", "delectare" and "movere") and to what extent they are transmuted by the cultural, social and confessional background of the author's upbringing and profession. Chapter I reviews the judgements passed on "Herkules", from the clearly positive ones of contemporaries like Rist and Schottel down to the mainly negative ones of the principal modern historians of literature. It draws attention to several shortcomings inherent in such appraisals and suggests a re-examination of certain elements in "Herkules" which hark back to the literary traditions of previous ages. Chapter II proposes a re-appraisal of the work in another respect, vis: in the framework of the concept of literary art then obtaining, stressing in particular the artefact quality and the factors of edification, entertainment and emotive effect. Chapters III end IV examine the work's links with popular late-medieval and 16th century literature and with the late-Greek novel respectively. Chapter V seeks to explain the diversity of styles in "Herkules" by the 17th century modification of a three-style technique ultimately traceable to classical antiquity, and suggests a co-ordination with the "prodesse-delectare-movere" function and the Humanist-Protestant-burgher milieu factors.