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Northern Frisia – Space as Protagonist

Northern Frisia – Space as actor

Kathrin Winkler

Abstract: When space itself becomes the protagonist in stories that are set in Northern Frisia, it is usually the North Sea that intervenes in the plot. Its power to act (in form of floodings or storm surges) is always present and forms the backdrop against which the story unfolds. In most cases, the acting space is presented as an antagonist to the characters; the coastline as a natural border between land and water becomes a place of confrontation between man and nature.

This protagonistic-physical quality of space can be found in many texts set in Northern Frisia – and in the majority of cases it seems to bear the same narrative function. The natural catastrophe often enrolls parallely to an emotional or interindividual conflict, so that the increasing personal disaster is mirrored in the deluge. The rising of the water forces the characters to react and on the narrative level, the growing pressure on the outside parallels the aggravation of the inner conflict and the resulting call for action.

At the peak of the flood the solutions to both situations fall in one: the inland is either rescued from the water or flooded – the characters will either overcome their conflict or go down.

Abb. 1: Einzelobjektdarstellung: Schauplätze und Projizierte Räume mit protagonistisch-physischen Qualitäten, Modellregion Nordfriesland

Figure 1: Single object map: Settings and projected places with protagonistical-physical characteristics, model region Northern Frisia

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