Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Glückliche Enden. Aus der Geschichte der affirmativen Kunst
Authors: Bunia, Anton Johann
Advisors: Wegmann, Nikolaus
Mülder-Bach, Inka
Contributors: German Department
Keywords: edification
Happy End
Happy endings
Subjects: Comparative literature
Political science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In this dissertation I investigate the history of the modern happy ending. Drawing on a diverse set of historical sources from the early modern period until today, this study reconstructs and explores various conceptual origins and genealogical forerunners of the modern happy end- ing—notorious for its proliferation in Hollywood cinema—as a culturally as well as politically significant phenomenon. The main and basic insight the study unveils is the deeply political nature of happy endings. According to a widespread misconception, happy endings are intrinsically reactionary and politically conservative. This study rectifies such notions by exploring the intricate role affirmative art has played in a diverse set of historical case studies. Through these case studies, my dissertation demonstrates that happy endings at times even display a subversive and progressive character. The history of happy endings, thus, sheds light on the cultural dimension of various political contexts and the telling interactions between political oppression and emancipation throughout the centuries. In happy endings, namely, affirmative art strives to articulate a societal vision of hope, harmony, or even bliss. The most common misconception that this study refutes dismisses happy endings as trite and artless concessions to so-called popular taste. In this still prevalent view, the political implications happy endings entail are merely considered an epi-phenomenon of very recent ideas of entertainment. Throughout the early modern period, happy endings start out as occasional entertainment for the happy few but turn into many different religiously and politically altered reconfigurations addressed to ever larger audiences to live happily ever after. Finally, they lend themselves to the modern versions that still persist today and that operate on the mass-mediatic and concurrently democratic assumption of happy endings for all. Visions of societal harmony become stories of emancipation and inclusion. The struggles for happy endings tell an important story about societal cohesion by allowing for a cultural assembly in which societies debate, impetuously and unremittingly, what they really want. By articulating a positive societal vision, texts regularly provoke protest and affirmation alike. This study provides a framework to analyze possible happy endings by contributing to the history and theory of democracy.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: de
Appears in Collections:German

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Bunia_princeton_0181D_13236.pdf2.29 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.