As a Protestant clergyman, Mörike was familiar with the historical study of the Bible (the 'Higher Criticism') represented by his friend David Strauss's Das Leben Jesu. He regarded it with ambivalence, agreeing in substance yet regretting its demolition of such attractive stories as the Gospel narratives of the birth of Jesus, and he found it hard to reconcile this historical understanding with his duties as a clergyman. His imaginative attraction to Christian legend was in tension with his liking for traditional tales about elves and ghosts, which he also associated with forbidden and disturbing sexuality. This tension finds expression both in his novel <em>Maler Nolten</em> and in the poem 'Auf eine Christblume', the two texts being linked by the key phrase 'Tochter des Walds'.The full-text of this article is not currently available in ORA, but you may be able to access the article via the publisher copy link on this record page. Citation: Robertson, R. (2007). 'Mörike and the higher criticism', Oxford German Studies 36(1), 47-59. [Available at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/ogs/2007/00000036/00000001/art00005]
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