2007-08 Staatsexamensklausur Engl. Lit. Wiss. Anton Kirchhofer

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Prof. Dr. Anton Kirchhofer – Englische Literaturwissenschaft Staatsexamensklausur (alle Lehrämter) – Magisterklausur 27. Februar 2008

Please Read the following question carefully, analyse it, and make sure that you are aware of the various points and tasks involved in addressing it, before you start working.

In the Roman à Clef, the secrets and scandals of politicians form a frequent ingredient. But what precisely are the ways and techniques by which such fictions can affect – and either damage or sometimes even support – the public standing of politicians? In the course of your discussion of this question, give a close analysis of the relevant effects created in the passage quoted below, but also compare and contrast your results to selected other romans à clef and public figures of your choice, and relate them all to your knowledge of the special features of the genre.

(For quicker orientiation: The following passage is from the last Chapter of Primary Colors. A Novel of Politics, a conversation between the characters Freddie Picker and Jack Stanton and the narrator.)

“I stood up there in New Haven,” Picker said quietly, “and I didn’t know what to do. … I was thinking about you. Well, sort of. I was thinking: They’re gonna find me out … – and then they’re gonna do to me what they’re doing to Jack Stanton.” Picker wiped his brow with the back of his hand. The room was gently air-conditioned – it wasn’t the usual arctic Southern over-compensation – and he was beginning to perspire. “It suddenly seemed so cruel, what they were doing to you. I mean, I haven’t been a great person in this life. I’ve done a lot of stupid, selfish things, and running for president may have been one of them – but I didn’t think I’d done anything that might remotely merit the humiliation, the viciousness …” His voice trailed off, his eyes clouded over. “It was some sort of pagan ritual, the way they were ripping you apart. And I’d be kind of getting off on it, feeding it even. At least, until that moment in New Haven, and that’s when I realized: Stanton probably doesn’t deserve it either.” Well, I thought – he deserved it some. Stanton glanced over at me quickly, sensing that I was betraying him. I may have been, but Picker wasn’t in any shape to notice. …