Wilfried Steiner’s Der Weg nach Xanadu – an Austrian Campus Novel?
Keywords:Wilfried Steiner, Der Weg nach Xanadu, Austria, Campus Novel, English Romanticism, Künstlerroman, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan“, The White Goddess
This article focuses on Wilfried Steiner’s 2003 novel Der Weg nach Xanadu / The Way To Xanadu which appears to be an Austrian campus novel owing to the setting of the Austrian world of academia in its first part. Owing to its lack of local coloring, however, the Vienna-based plot of the first part does not feature a (stereo)typically ‘Austrian’ genius loci. Although this part of the text echoes features of the international campus novel tradition, it may be definitely not considered an Austrian campus novel. The second part of the novel is set in the Lake District, focuses on Coleridge’s Romantic poetry and the Doppelgänger-motif. Whereas the first part may be vaguely contextualized within the international campus novel tradition, the second part is deeply imbued with the Romantic tradition of the Künstlerroman or artist’s novel.
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