Literary history's persistent attempts to locate the work of Joseph von Eichendorff within German Romanticism aim at a stabilization that contradicts the very dynamism associated with this movement. A study of Eichendorff's exemplary novella Das Marmorbild (The Marble Statue) reveals the shortcomings of any interpretive desire to fix the text, not simply because the story delights in Romantic instability but because it posits phenomena of music and their effects as forces that frustrate every effort to localize. What Eichendorff presents to the reader is itself a “marble statue”—a Bild or image that both seduces and invites, inspires and imprisons, by means of epistemological and moral ambivalences that resonate far beyond the text's localizable source.

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