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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1950. Department of Modern Languages.


Copyright 1950, the author. Used by permission.


The Swiss poet and novelist Conrad Ferdinand Meyer came from a country whose post-Reformation history included violent religious struggles. All major Swiss poets have dealt with the subject of these tensions between the Catholic and Protestant populations of the country. In both Meyer’s life and his literary works, religion played an important role as well.

Meyer wrote no autobiography, and his brief autobiographical sketches and correspondence offer no clues to his innermost spiritual convictions. Two sources offer a clearer picture of Meyer’s religious worldview: first, his life and the environment in which he developed and lived; and second, his literary writings. Meyer’s prose works abound with religious characters. In this study, representative figures from Meyer’s writings offer examples of “true,” problematic, and conventional religious personas. As exemplified by these characters, Meyer had no uniform response to religious issues, but instead espoused a range of skeptical, aesthetic, anti-Catholic, and fatalistic attitudes towards religion.

Advisor: W. K. Pfeiler