In: KulturPoetik 2009, Heft 2


Franka Marquardt


Das »jüdische Männchen« am »Teich Bethesda«. Zu den antisemitischen Spuren eines Schlittens in Gottfried Kellers Kleider machen Leute




The article argues that a sleigh called »Teich Bethesda« in Gottfried Keller’s Kleider machen Leute can serve as a focal point for the traces of anti-Semitism to be found throughout the novella. Beginning with the anti-Jewish Bible exegesis, which gives the sleigh its name, this essay shows how the sleigh’s owner Melchior Böhni comes to occupy a position often held by Jews in German literature of the 19th century. With reference to the most important ›intertext‹ of Keller’s novella, Clemens Brentano’s Schneider Siebentodt, to the cycle Die Leute von Seldwyla, to which the novella belongs, and finally in the light of Keller’s personal correspondence, the article shows how the omnipresent anti-Semitism of the 19th century has left its mark even where Jewish characters do not actually appear and where anti-Semitic intentions of the author can be excluded.