Isolated from the world, but her mirror, which is the scene of Thomas Hettches novel “Peacock Island.” The Prussian monarch Frederick William II. And his son Frederick William III. have the small island designed in the Havel southwest of Berlin to their highly personal vision as a refuge; so the island was also an expression of the royal mind.
Friedrich Wilhelm II., nephew of Frederick the Great and his heir apparent, was a bon vivant. The age of twenty, he met in 1764 the bourgeois musician daughter Wilhelmine Encke, with whom he later – during his unhappy first marriage for reasons of state – a love affair began. 1768 gave birth to her first child Wilhelmine, 1769 sixteen officially became a mistress of the Prince. The two were each other until his death in 1797 and weighed a total had five children together. The did not preclude that “the thick Lüder Jahn” (as it the people called) in 1769 a new marriage concluded (from the 1770 who later became Crown Prince Frederick William III. Was born) and entertained two other mistresses.
Even since 1766, the Crown Prince for his romantic Rencontres with Wilhelmine Encke had selected the feral Havel island. After becoming in 1786 King of Prussia, he left there in 1794 to build a white summer palace. The little architectural gem on the idyllic waters, the complete interior Wilhelmine designed, affiliated to a dairy farm, a rural property with dairy cattle, horses and sheep, and peacocks were settled, which from now on the island its name.
Frederick William III, who in 1797 at age 27 came to the throne, though despised the immoral relationships that had ruled his father on the farm, but whose affection for Pfaueninsel he shared – in contrast to his wife Louise, who far early about her death (1810), it was revered by all the people. He left the court gardener Ferdinand Fintelmann create a landscape park in the English style, which is also enclosed arable land during the Napoleonic occupation. Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed some of the buildings on the island, and from 1821 put landscape gardener Peter Joseph Lenné to the rose garden, a palm house and a menagerie of exotic animals.
ended with the death of the King in 1840, the heyday of peacock island; Crown Prince Frederick William IV. Was not pleased with her and gave the surviving animals along with several buildings of the Zoological Society of Berlin, from which in 1844 Germany’s first zoo emerged.
Thomas Hettche told from the time from 1800, and he chooses a perspective “from below”. Protagonist and role model of his novel is not a nobleman from the royal family, but a dwarf in the court.
For the king entertained on his island, another preference that put on the arranged exotic flora and fauna the crown. In the artificial atmosphere he gathered also human “exotic” differently in shape or according to their origin. Here, the gentle “giant” Karl lived Ehrenreich light born in the Sandwich Islands skinned Heinrich Wilhelm Maitey and short stature due to a gene mutation siblings Christian Friedrich and Maria Dorothea ( “Marie”) Strakon from Rixdorf.
In Marie’s birth in 1800, Germany is a patchwork of small states and a handful of larger principalities under which Brandenburg is most extensive by far. The population feeds on agriculture and trade. When Marie died 80 years later, the world has changed radically. The German Reich is founded, machines have revolutionized the world of work and social conditions, scientists constantly bring new insights, engineers feats to work so that it is generally convinced that man is the nature made shortly completely subservient. Within four decades, the country was covered with a twenty thousand kilometers of railway network. In Berlin Borsig and Schwartzkopff build ever bigger and faster locomotives.
From all this, the two orphans Christian and Marie get little with, because after they were brought as curiosities to the magical, enchanted Peacock Island in 1806, this is their World. They grow there on in the family court gardener Ferdinand Fintelmann. When Marie fed at the table as a castle lady in her high chair, it serves to amusement. If it runs on short legs through the gardens, you look at her, the
The root of Thomas Hettches novel is a disgust, the other full of curiosity. Sober, factual and accurate, but not artistic or unadorned. Despite the prevailing rationality (botanical explanations, inventories …) we also read poetic, inspiring views and fairy tale. Getting Started – the beautiful Queen Louise meets in the forest abruptly Marie’s brother – culminating in a word Maries determined entire life and leitmotif accompanied what is happening on the island: “Monster”
Although the teacher Mahlke. Marie explained that had “all life” its place in the world, nothing outside stand, but at best is not yet understood, but “find an explanation in the course of progress of science will,” is cultivated in the parallel world of the peacock island, the otherness, and Marie remains constantly in mind that they are part of what is left behind only by naming as a “monster”
monstrous is almost everything in the synthetic paradise. leading to a classical garden tamed and trivialized landscape, the artificial architecture, the collection of exotic showpieces in an environment that allows them not a natural way of life. The Palm House must be increased by a glass dome, so that the leaves upwards have enough space; later, digs in depth, the roots laid down
In the man-made, isolated environment dry up human relations. Sexuality coagulates to peculiar technical practices without sensuality without emotion. Marie is appointed to the castle to the Princess Liegnitz watch at a strange masturbation to be (with funkensprühendem early Hitech toys) and then the king of services.
Marie is part of an unusual love triangle. On one hand, it maintains an incestuous relationship with her brother Christian, on the other hand loves her longingly Fintel’s nephew Gustav. This in turn can not bear its peculiar body shape and feels drawn precisely to Christian. Both, however, does not prevent him to impregnate Marie.
Christian has evolved over the years into an overgrown, instinct-driven creatures. In an extravagant celebration that held the Princess Liegnitz in the Palm House and to contribute to the entertainment that siblings in colorful oriental costumes he umschwänzelt the princess so uninhibited and obscene challenging that Gustav may no longer watching and killing him in spectacular fashion. Marie is thus deprived of an important support in their lives, and when Gustav her soon after taking away her newborn child, she loses the last stop. She withdraws and flees into the world of literature, the teacher Mahlke has opened its
Thomas Hettches “Peacock Island” is densely populated with a variety of historical figures. Kings, their Hofgärtnern, landscape architects and builders , staff and illustrious visitors. What could be historically occupied by the narrative and what the author shaping imagination has sprung, remains open. From its protagonist is found today only their grave stone with the inscription “Here rests in God the castle spinster Miss Maria Dorothea Strakon”, otherwise “anywhere in the World Wide Web ” a picture or a track.
Peter Schlemihl, Adelbert von Chamisso’s fairytale character, produces a silhouette of Marie …
The novel is also bursting of action; that inasmuch as even her flüchtigster visitor has a comprehensive guaranteed Vita it is administered in short episodes, the up and down chasing the reader through the decades and are garnished with detailed descriptions of the exuberant flora. In the context of a predominantly Erzähltons distanced held some emotionally powerful scenes stand out, such as the emotional world of these animals, especially the moribund lion that cries out in his pain and caressed calming of Marie. For time picture even bizarre heard how the “hunt joy” that interferes in the horrors of the hunter Koehler after he accidentally shot the “Mohr Theobald Itissa”.
At the end of this portrait of a new era of rapid technical and spiritual progress that is similar in many ways as ours are, the reader all that the peacock island well in mind. Marie leads finally again as a guide to all the places. But since nature has recaptured the island again, anything artificial “wiped”, all Unnatural is “dead and withered,” and “nothing was left but the splendor of the peacock.”