The last native wolves in Germany were shot in the middle of the nineteenth century. The untamed landscapes of the American Wild West are without equivalent in a densely populated country where nature has been shaped and reshaped by its human inhabitants over the centuries. Nevertheless, the wild, be it in the form of those mountains and forests which are still perceived as constituting a challenge or threat to civilisation, or of Gypsies eking out a nomadic existence on the fringe of society, has exercised a particular fascination in German culture. This essay focuses on Otto Alscher (1880-1944), the “hermit of Orsowa”, friend of Romanian gypsies, and hunter of bears and wolves in the Carpathian mountains. His novels and stories are examined for their political implications and situated in the context of shifting modern attitudes towards wild animals.
This essay is part of a wider project exploring the ability of frame analysis to serve as a common methodology for the description and analysis of oral, media, historical and literary stories about energy, in the context of today’s transition to renewables. Taking as starting point the typology of frames in Gamson/Modigliani (1989), it applies the theory and methodology of framing to three literary texts depicting and reflecting on our changing use of energy. The first is Jim Crace’s recent historical novel, Harvest (2013), which tells the story of Britain’s agricultural enclosures; the second Charles Dickens’s classic depiction of the Industrial Revolution, Hard Times (1854). The third novel, which is examined in greater depth, is Ian McEwan’s account of the challenge posed by the transition to renewable energy today in Solar (2010). Sensitivity is demanded in approaching narrative strategies which can involve multiple, conflicting framings and merely implicit narrative perspectives. However, a focus on framing can, it is argued, foreground neglected aspects of literary narration, and give insights into the part played by literature and imagination in energy debates.