Other Ivory Towers and Literary Counterfactuals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the ivory tower topos in Hermann Hesse's Das Glasperlenspiel, Hermann Broch's Der Tod des Vergil, and Elias Canetti's Die Blendung. It examines ways in which surrogate ivory towers and counterfactuals occur in fiction set in the past, the present, and the future. The secularization and trivialization of the ivory tower posited in recent research are shown to be less significant than its accommodation to the political and cultural concerns of the twentieth century. By moving beyond earlier religious and didactic models, we show that the ivory tower concept has been constructively re-formulated to relate to modern dilemmas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18 - 27
Number of pages10
JournalPublications of the English Goethe Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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