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German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899

German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899

Clayton Koelb
Eric Downing
Volume: 9
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 356
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  • Book Info
    German Literature of the Nineteenth Century, 1832-1899
    Book Description:

    This volume provides an overview of the major movements, genres, and authors of 19th-century German literature in the period from the death of Goethe in 1832 to the publication of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. Although the primary focus is on

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-662-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Clayton Koelb and Eric Downing

    The period between 1832 and 1900 produced some of the most remarkable writers in the history of European literature, and it includes names that nearly everyone would recognize. There is the poet Heinrich Heine, whose poem about the Lorelei on the Rhine inspired stories and songs known around the world. There is the writer and composer Richard Wagner, whose music dramas are still so popular that eager fans are willing to wait years to get tickets to major performances. There is the philosophical writer Friedrich Nietzsche, whose influence on European thought and culture extends through the twentieth century and now...

  5. Part I. Contexts

    • The Afterlife of Romanticism
      (pp. 23-44)
      Andrew Webber

      German Romanticism is a complex and slippery phenomenon, resisting any straightforward cultural historical periodization or localization. From an early stage in the historiography of the movement, the precocious flourishing of Romantic ideas in the movement’s early period (Frühromantik) was contrasted with the more mature literary hey-day of high Romanticism (Hochromantik) and the often wistfully self-ironic developments of late Romanticism (Spätromantik.) In fact, though, the three stages of the life of German Romanticism, broadly spanning the last decade of the eighteenth century and the first three of the nineteenth, are not synchronized in their sequence; the naïve energy of the first...

    • Parallels and Disparities: German Literature in the Context of European Culture
      (pp. 45-60)
      Lilian Furst

      To place German literature in the context of European culture is a tall order. What René Wellek called “the ‘foreign trade’ of literatures”¹ has been examined with extraordinary thoroughness in regard to nineteenth-century German literature and its European connections because they are so numerous, so dense, and so influential. The impact particularly of Goethe and the Romantics has been the subject of countless studies.² The processes of transmission are supported by other types of documentation: for instance, the reports of such travelers as Henry Crabb Robinson,³ Charles de Villiers,⁴ and Mme. De Staël,⁵ and the mapping of the demography of...

    • Revolution and Reaction: The Political Context of Central European Literature
      (pp. 63-90)
      Arne Koch

      The nineteenth century was an age marked by countless transformations. By the end of the 1800s, the patchwork of Germanspeaking kingdoms, principalities, and dominions had been drastically altered. Geographically, the unifying façade of the nation-state replaced the previously fragmented map of Central Europe. Economically, industrial advances succeeded the seeming backwardness of traditional agriculture. Politically, multi-party parliamentary systems took the place of individual absolute rulers. And socially, innovations in transportation, city planning, social welfare and other areas radically modernized German-speaking Europe. The population’s reaction to these changing political and social conditions were manifold and often dependent on individuals’ religious beliefs, social...

  6. Part II. Movements

    • Literary Controversy: Naming and Framing the Post-Romantic, Pre-Realist Period
      (pp. 93-115)
      Robert C. Holub

      How do we define the periods of German literature? In traditional literary histories the labels assigned to periods by former generations of German scholars include an odd assortment of features. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example, which are usually taught under the tripartite designation Renaissance-Reformation-Baroque, mix movements that were originally associated with architecture and art history (Renaissance and Baroque) outside German borders with a religious movement identified primarily with a native revolt against the Roman-Catholic church. Although each of these terms may describe some characteristics of the literary production of the early modern era, none relates specifically to literature;...

    • Poetic Realism, Naturalism, and the Rise of the Novella
      (pp. 117-137)
      Gail Finney

      As a stylistic mode, realism has long been with us. For Aristotle, whose Poetics (fourth century B.C.) remained the bible of dramatic theory in the West for more than 2000 years, the arts, including literature, are based on imitation, or mimesis. This definition yields the criterion of verisimilitude, or trueness to life, which is equivalent to realism in its most general sense: the truer a work of art is to nature — the more faithful the artistic imitation — the more realistic the work is. This criterion can be applied to texts of any period and genre, although it is of course...

    • Literary Movements of the 1890s: Impressionism, Symbolism, and fin-de-siècle Austria
      (pp. 139-154)
      Ernst Grabovszki

      The last decade before the turn of the century was distinguished by a virtually unparalleled diversity of artistic movements. These broke with traditional ways of making of art, both stylistically and as to subject matter. The most important and defining trend — especially for literature — was the decay of naturalism and its replacement by impressionism and symbolism, though realist and nationalistic, even racist literature influenced the period as well. Heimatkunst (art idealizing rural life) and Arbeiterdichtung (writing by or about workers) arose at the same time, making the decade a conglomerate of several movements often running counter to each other: Heimatkunst,...

  7. Part III. Genres

    • The Absence of Drama in Nineteenth-Century Germany
      (pp. 157-181)
      Benjamin Bennett

      The title of course puts me out on a limb, but in fact I would be prepared to argue that the assertion it presupposes is a relatively modest one. Under different circumstances I might have written on “The Absence of Drama in the Nineteenth Century.” This chapter attempts to cover both the broad theoretical and historical points that support that larger assertion, and the specific situation in German-speaking Europe, including three particularly interesting cases from German literature.

      “Nineteenth-century German drama,” as it is viewed by most German historians of literature, develops largely in relation to a central tradition of works...

    • The Nineteenth-Century German Novel
      (pp. 183-206)
      Jeffrey L. Sammons

      The history of the nineteenth-century novel in any Western nation is a topic of immense dimensions, for the novel became the dominant genre of modern Western literature; even today, someone who says that he or she is reading a “book” most likely means a novel. In view of the evident impossibility of miniaturizing this history into a compact space, it seems appropriate to venture some principles of procedure. My purpose will be to suggest trends within the development, pursuing less an orderly sequence than the diversity of possibilities. Thus, the absence of any author or title is not meant pejoratively....

    • Between Sentimentality and Phantasmagoria: German Lyric Poetry, 1830–1890
      (pp. 207-249)
      Thomas Pfau

      Were one pressed to name a single overarching and dominant feature of German lyric poetry after 1830, it would probably have to be the genre’s enduring uncertainty as to its own social legitimacy and efficacy. The most comprehensive study of the Biedermeier period, by Friedrich Sengle, remarks on the uncertain cultural authority of the lyric in the post-Romantic era, in part because the genre appeared to lack a coherent poetic theory, and also because the poetics of the Jena Romantics had proposed the novel rather than the lyric as a new super-genre capable of amalgamating Poesie and Kritik in an...

    • Richard Wagner: Opera and Music Drama
      (pp. 251-278)
      Christopher Morris

      The old chestnut that more has been written about Richard Wagner (1813–83) than any historical figure bar Napoleon and Jesus Christ has been debunked many times. But legends are durable, and this one has been given a new lease of life thanks to the plethora of websites devoted to Wagner: typing the names of these three historical figures into a search engine will quickly reveal how widely this claim has been disseminated. The important point, of course, is not the veracity of the assertion, but the fact that it proves so popular. That such an exaggerated claim continues to...

  8. Part IV. Bibliographical Resources

    • Navigating the Nineteenth Century: A Critical Bibliography
      (pp. 281-302)
      John Pizer

      Virtually all professors and graduate students of German in the United States today are aware that the gradual shift in emphasis from a focus on German literature and linguistics in their departments to a broader-based engagement with German Studies (and all the subdisciplines this term comprehends) has brought about major changes in curricular offerings and reading lists. Departments of German Studies offer a wide variety of courses on such topics as film, politics, German multiculturalism, and social histories of women and minorities, with correspondingly less emphasis on traditional works of German literature. Less well known and documented, but evident to...

    • List of Primary Sources
      (pp. 303-316)
    • Selected Secondary Works Cited
      (pp. 317-330)
  9. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 331-334)
  10. Index
    (pp. 335-348)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 349-349)