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By Gibbs J.W.

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Tobias’ Ähnlichkeit mit einem Habicht lässt sich als Anspielung auf die Vorstellung vom Versehen lesen. Gerade die Tatsache, „daß seine Mutter alle möglichen Ursachen aufsuchte, um sich dies Phänomen zu erklären“ (TK III, 244), deutet auf eine Anspielung auf die Theorie des Versehens hin. Die Befragung der Mutter über mögliche Ursachen, Gelegenheiten des „Versehens“ während der Schwangerschaft gehört zu den Methoden der Missgeburtsforscher, vgl. Maren Lorenz, „Von Monstren und Menschen. Der Umgang mit sogenannten ‚Mißgeburten‘ im 18.

The notion of a fated abnormality is signaled in the epithets “unselig” (unfortunate, 7) and “vermaledeit” (damned, 42). The word “Mißgeburt” (monstrosity) is also used frequently in the text, and according to Hagner, relates the 20 deformity to the idea of a social threat. The narrative begins with the circumstances of Zaches’s birth and its effect on his mother and father. His mother Liese is a poverty-stricken farmer’s wife who is suffering from hunger and thirst, and is prostrate on the ground and close to death.

Romantic characters, then, are constructed as the subversive and residual elements of a receding medieval cultural age that exist within the MISREADING THE BODY ♦ 45 space of a dominant rationalist and increasingly scientific and prosaic society. The act of transformation does not just affect Zaches but the whole of society, when it moves toward modernity and rationalism. This transition leaves behind it a fault line between historic periods that Foucault, in his Archaeology of Knowledge, referred to as an epistemic change and that alters the way in which signs are interpreted.

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