The family romance, also a generational romance or a family saga, is a novel genre, whose plot deals primarily with the fate of a family. The figure constellation is thus mainly characterized by the members of a family. The narrated time thus usually extends over several generations and thus usually covers several decades. Since the figurative ensemble is located within the family or in the vicinity of this family, similar conflicts always arise in family romans (eg inheritances, generation conflicts …).
The terms family romans, generational romans, family sagas and family chronicles are sometimes used synonymously in the literature. By definition, however, the family romance can be distinguished from other genres in that it mostly covers two generations, with their lives and conflicts being shown. So it is usually about the story of parents and their children.
All other terms – especially the generational Romanes – can be distinguished, since they extend over more than two generations and at least cover the story of three family generations. This delimitation, however, is usually not carried out, and this article also does not separate so clearly, since the fundamental conflicts of all genres are identical, regardless of the number of figures.
History of family romance
The fundamental theme – the family and the interplay of different generations – has been found for centuries in quite different forms and forms. However, in the individual epochs the focus, which was shown in the family romans, changed.
One of the first examples in the German language, as well as a preliminary step in the later family romance, is the work of Jörg Wickram, a writer of the 16th century, whose works are characterized by dramas, prose works, and translations. However, it is probably the first great high of the genre in the sensitivity (about 1740 to 1790) to be located. In numerous letter-romans the family and the role of the woman are very often the focus. In addition, child-rearing is often discussed, as a result of which the educational process is gaining in importance.
In the following epochs the familymroman plays a minor role and, as can be seen from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Die Wahlverwandtschaften” (1809), the literary field hardly influences classical music or romanticism. Rather, he finds himself here in the shallow entertaining or trivial literature.
Up to the present, the family romance is constantly changing and is difficult to establish as an independent genre. For, on the one hand, family fates can be found in numerous works, but on the other hand, these are rarely the main reason for the design, but are rather background in the respective genre (Bauernroman, Heimatdichtung, Standoman etc.). However, the family romance is strongly marked by the heroes of Lev Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Theodor Fontane, as well as the sexes of Émile Zola.
Witiko (1867), Adalbert Stifter
Les Rougon-Macquart (twenty-six, 1871-1893), Émile Zola
The brothers Karamazov (1880), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Effi Briest (1896), Theodor Fontane
Buddenbrooks (1901), Thomas Mann
The Way of All Flesh (1903), Samuel Butler