Kehlmann’s Tyll as a Tale of an Artist's Tenacity
Keywords:Art, Daniel Kehlmann, Historiographic Metafiction, Tyll, War Novel
Tyll Ulenspiegel in Daniel Kehlmann’s Tyll, plucked from German folklore, and is placed inside the whirlwind of the Thirty Years War, with nothing but his wits at his disposal against the Four Biblical Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Plague, Famine, and Death. Fleeing his home after the hanging of his father blamed of witchcraft, Tyll finds himself performing as a travelling artist, alternating between entertaining and insulting both the masses and the royalty, deftly dodging death while others around him are not nimble enough to avoid the Grim Reaper’s scythe. Employing historiographic metafiction and narrative strategies of the war novel, Kehlmann highlights how war destroys human life. He depicts war with all its inglorious and gruesome details, bashing ‘historical’ accounts through the ridiculousness of his own characters attempting to write the same. Tyll, the artist, becomes the only character who is authentic and unheard, resilient in life but obscure in posterity. To explicate all of the above statements, the paper exploits the theoretic observations of Linda Hutcheon (1988) and Lidia Yuknavitch (2001).
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