Besides the hymn, the Volkslied, which amidst the struggles and confusion of the great war bore witness to a steadily growing sense of patriotism, lay outside the domain of the literary theorists and dictators, and developed in its own way. But all else—if we except certain forms of fiction, which towards the end of the 17th century rose into prominence—stood completely under the sway of the Latin Renaissance. The first focus of the movement was Heidelberg, which had been a centre of humanistic learning in the sixteenth century.
Here, under the leadership of J. Zincgref , a number of scholarly writers carried into practice that interest in the vernacular which had been shown a little earlier by the German translator of Marot, Paul Schede or Melissus, librarian in Heidelberg. The most important forerunner of Opitz was G. Of these the greatest, or at least the most influential, was Martin Opitz As a poet, Opitz experimented with every form of recognized Renaissance poetry from ode and epic to pastoral romance and Senecan drama; but his poetry is for the most part devoid of inspiration; and his extraordinary fame among his contemporaries would be hard to understand, were it not that in his Buch von der deutschen Poeterey he gave the German Renaissance its theoretical textbook.
In this tract, in which Opitz virtually reproduced in German the accepted dogmas of Renaissance theorists like Scaliger and Ronsard, he not merely justified his own mechanical verse-making, but also gave Germany a law-book which regulated her literature for a hundred years.
The work of Opitz as a reformer was furthered by another institution of Latin origin, namely, literary societies modelled on the Accademia della Crusca in Florence. Schottelius , for instance, wrote his epoch-making grammatical works with the avowed purpose of furthering the objects of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft. Chief among them was Simon Dach , a gentle, elegiac writer on whom the laws of the Buch von der deutschen Poeterey did not lie too heavily. In the previous century the most advanced form of literature had been satire, and under the new conditions the satiric vein still proved most productive; but it was no longer the full-blooded satire of the Reformation, or even the rich and luxuriant satiric fancy of Fischart, which found expression in the 17th century.
Satire pure and simple was virtually only cultivated by two Low German poets, J.
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Lauremberg and J. Rachel , of whom at least the latter was accepted by the Opitzian school; but the satiric spirit rose to higher things in the powerful and scathing sermons of J. Best of all are the epigrams of the most gifted of all the Silesian group of writers, Friedrich von Logau Logau is an epigrammatist of the first rank, and perhaps the most remarkable product of the Renaissance movement in Germany.
Opitz found difficulty in providing Germany with a drama according to the classic canon. He had not himself ventured beyond translations of Sophocles and Seneca, and Johann Rist in Hamburg, one of the few contemporary dramatists, had written plays more in the manner of Duke Heinrich Julius of Brunswick than of Opitz. Like Opitz, Gryphius also was a Silesian, and a poet of no mean ability, as is to be seen from his lyric poetry; but his tragedies, modelled on the stiff Senecan pattern, suffered from the lack of a theatre, and from his ignorance of the existence of a more highly developed drama in France, not to speak of England.
As it was, he was content with Dutch models. The German novel of the 17th century was, as has been already indicated, less hampered by Renaissance laws than other forms of literature, and although it was none the less at the mercy of foreign influence, that influence was more varied and manifold in its character. The best German novel of the 17th century, Der abenteurliche Simplicissimus by H.
Christoffel von Grimmelshausen c. Christian Weise , rector of the Zittau gymnasium, wrote a few satirical novels, but his realism and satire are too obviously didactic. He is seen to better advantage in his dramas, of which he wrote more than fifty for performance by his scholars. Wyss ff. With the exception of J. Buchholtz , H. As the cultivators of the bombastic and Euphuistic style of the Italians Guarini and Marini, and of the Spanish writer Gongora, Lohenstein and Hofmannswaldau touched the lowest point to which German poetry ever sank.
But this aberration of taste was happily of short duration. Although socially the recovery of the German people from the desolation of the war was slow and laborious, the intellectual life of Germany was rapidly recuperating under the influence of foreign thinkers. Samuel Pufendorf , Christian Thomasius , Christian von Wolff and, above all, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz , the first of the great German philosophers, laid the foundations of that system of rationalism which dominated Germany for the better part of the 18th century; while German religious life was strengthened and enriched by a revival of pietism, under mystic thinkers like Philipp Jakob Spener , a revival which also left its traces on religious poetry.
Such hopeful signs of convalescence could not but be accompanied by an improvement in literary taste, and this is seen in the first instance in a substitution for the bombast and conceits of Lohehstein and Hofmannswaldau, of poetry on the stricter and soberer lines laid down by Boileau. The methods of Hofmannswaldau had obtained considerable vogue in Hamburg, where the Italian opera kept the decadent Renaissance poetry alive. But the influence of English literature was not merely destructive in these years; in the translations and imitations of the English Spectator , Tatler and Guardian —the so-called moralische Wochenschriften —it helped to regenerate literary taste, and to implant healthy moral ideas in the German middle classes.
He reformed and purified the stage according to French ideas, and provided it with a repertory of French origin; in his Kritische Dichtkunst he laid down the principles according to which good literature was to be produced and judged. As Opitz had reformed German letters with the help of Ronsard, so now Gottsched took his standpoint on the principles of Boileau as interpreted by contemporary French critics and theorists. With Gottsched, whose services in purifying the German language have stood the test of time better than his literary or dramatic reforms, the period of German Renaissance literature reaches its culmination and at the same time its close.
The movement of the age advanced too rapidly for the Leipzig dictator; in a new epoch opened in German poetry and he was soon left hopelessly behind. Bodmer and J.machbiodeepfcardto.ga/caxax-numero-de.php
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Breitinger The Swiss, men of little originality, found their theories in the writings of Italian and English critics; and from these they learned how literature might be freed from the fetters of pseudo-classicism. Their victory was due, not to the skill with which they presented their arguments, but to the fact that literature itself was in need of greater freedom.
It was in fact a triumph, not of personalities or of leaders, but of ideas. These men—C. Gellert , the author of graceful fables and tales in verse, G. Rabener , the mild satirist of Saxon provinciality, the dramatist J. Klopstock , Der Messias , which was the best illustration of that lawlessness against which Gottsched had protested. Under Frederick the Great, who, as the docile pupil of French culture, had little sympathy for unregulated displays of feeling, neither Klopstock nor his imitators were in favour in Berlin, but at the university of Halle considerable interest was taken in the movement inaugurated by Bodmer.
Pyra and S. Gleim , J. Uz and J. But before turning to that movement we must consider two writers who, strictly speaking, also belong to the age under consideration—Lessing and Wieland. He was the most liberal-minded exponent of 18th-century rationalism. He looked to England and not to France for the regeneration of the German theatre, and his own dramas were pioneer-work in this direction.
His two most promising disciples—J. Weisse was not gifted enough to advance the drama in its literary aspects. Nicolai in the famous Literaturbriefe. Here Lessing identified himself with the best critical principles of the rationalistic movement—principles which, in the later years of his life, he employed in a fierce onslaught on Lutheran orthodoxy and intolerance.
To the widening and deepening of the German imagination C. Wieland also contributed, but in a different way. Although no enemy of pseudo-classicism, he broke with the stiff dogmatism of Gottsched and his friends, and tempered the pietism of Klopstock by introducing the Germans to the lighter poetry of the south of Europe. Wieland had a considerable following, both among poets and prose writers; he was particularly looked up to in Austria, towards the end of the 18th century, where the literary movement advanced more slowly than in the north.
Here Aloys Blumauer and J. In Saxony, M. Kortum , author of the most popular comic epic of the time, Die Jobsiade , was but little influenced by Wieland. Meanwhile a rationalism, less materialistic and strict than that of Wolff, was spreading rapidly through educated middle-class society in Germany. Men like Knigge, Moses Mendelssohn, J. Zimmermann , T. Engel , as well as the educational theorists J. Basedow and J. Lichtenberg Such was the milieu from which sprang the most advanced pioneer of the classical epoch of modern German literature, J.
Herder Hamann By regarding the human race as the product of a slow evolution from primitive conditions, he revolutionized the methods and standpoint of historical science and awakened an interest—for which, of course, Rousseau had prepared the way—in the early history of mankind. He himself collected and published the Volkslieder of all nations , and drew attention to those elements in German life and art which were, in the best and most precious sense, national—elements which his predecessors had despised as inconsistent with classic formulae and systems.
Herder is thus not merely the forerunner, but the actual founder of the literary movement known as Sturm und Drang. With the exception of the two brothers, Ch. Miller , again, excelled in simple lyrics in the tone of the Volkslied. Claudius , the Wandsbecker Bote —as he was called after the journal he edited—an even more unassuming and homely representative of the German peasant in literature than Voss, and G.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe had, as a student in Leipzig , written lyrics in the Anacreontic vein and dramas in alexandrines. But in Strassburg, where he went to continue his studies in , he made the personal acquaintance of Herder, who won his interest for the new literary movement. Herder imbued him with his own ideas of the importance of primitive history and Gothic architecture and inspired him with a pride in German nationality; Herder convinced him that there was more genuine poetry in a simple Volkslied than in all the ingenuity of the German imitators of Horace or Anacreon; above all, he awakened his enthusiasm for Shakespeare.
The effect on Goethe of the new ideas was instantaneous; they seemed at once to set his genius free, and from to he was extraordinarily fertile in poetic ideas and creations. Leisewitz , H. The fiction of the Sturm und Drang , again, was in its earlier stages dominated by Werthers Leiden , as may be seen in the novels of F. Jacobi and J. Miller, who has been already mentioned. Later, in the hands of J.
Heinse , author of Ardinghello , Klinger, K. Moritz , whose Anton Reiser clearly foreshadows Wilhelm Meister , it reflected not merely the sentimentalism, but also the philosophic and artistic ideas of the period.
Germany owes to the Sturm und Drang her national theatre; permanent theatres were established in these years at Hamburg, Mannheim, Gotha, and even at Vienna, which, as may be seen from the dramas of C. The Hofburgtheater of Vienna, the greatest of all the German stages, was virtually founded in For Goethe this phase in his development came to an end with his departure for Weimar in , while, after writing Don Carlos , Schiller turned from poetry to the study of history and philosophy. Under the influence of the Weimar court, where classic or even pseudo-classic tastes prevailed, he was gradually finding his way to a form of literary art which should reconcile the humanistic ideals of the 18th century with the poetic models of ancient Greece.
But he did not arrive at clearness in his ideas until after his sojourn in Italy , an episode of the first importance for his mental development. Italy was, in the first instance, a revelation to Goethe of the antique; he had gone to Italy to find realized what Winckelmann had taught, and here he conceived that ideal of a classic literature, which for the next twenty years dominated German literature and made Weimar its metropolis. In Italy he gave Iphigenie auf Tauris its final form, he completed Egmont —like the exactly contemporary Don Carlos of Schiller, a kind of bridge from Sturm und Drang to classicism—and all but finished Torquato Tasso Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre bears testimony to the clear and decisive views which he had acquired on all questions of art and of the practical conduct of life.
Long before Wilhelm Meister appeared, however, German thought and literature had arrived at that stability and self-confidence which are the most essential elements in a great literary period. Under the influence of Kant, Schiller turned from the study of history to that of philosophy and more especially aesthetics.
Iselin, F. Men like Wilhelm von Humboldt and the philosopher J. Fichte were, in two widely different spheres, representative of this type of intellectual eminence. Goethe, as director of the ducal theatre, could to a great extent control dramatic production in Germany. Under his encouragement, Schiller turned from philosophy to poetry and wrote the splendid series of classic dramas beginning with the trilogy of Wallenstein and closing with Wilhelm Tell and the fragment of Demetrius ; while to Goethe we owe, above all, the epic of Hermann und Dorothea. Although acknowledged leaders of German letters, Goethe and Schiller had considerable opposition to contend with.
The Sturm und Drang had by no means exhausted itself, and the representatives of the once dominant rationalistic movement were particularly arrogant and overbearing. Lastly, in the province of lyric and epic poetry, it is impossible to regard poets like the gentle F. Kosegarten and C. Tiedge , as worthily seconding the masterpieces of Goethe and Schiller. Moreover, at the very close of the 18th century a new literary movement arose in admitted opposition to the classicism of Weimar, and to this movement, which first took definite form in the Romantic school, the sympathies of the younger generation turned.
Just as in the previous generation the Sturm und Drang had been obliged to make way for a return to classic and impersonal principles of literary composition, so now the classicism of Goethe and Schiller, which had produced masterpieces like Wallenstein and Hermann und Dorothea , had to yield to a revival of individualism and subjectivity, which, in the form of Romanticism, profoundly influenced the literature of the whole 19th century.
Wackenroder contained the Romantic art-theory, while the hymns and fragmentary novels of Friedrich von Hardenberg known as Novalis, , and the dramas and fairy tales of Tieck, were the characteristic products of Romantic literature. Romanticism was essentially conciliatory in its tendencies, that is to say, it aimed at a reconciliation of poetry with other provinces of social and intellectual life; the hard and fast boundaries which the older critics had set up as to what poetry might and might not do, were put aside, and the domain of literature was regarded as co-extensive with life itself; painting and music, philosophy and ethics, were all accepted as constituent elements of or aids to Romantic poetry.
Fichte, and to a much greater extent, F. Schleiermacher demonstrated how vital the revival of individualism was for religious thought. The Romantic school, whose chief members were the brothers Schlegel, Tieck, Wackenroder and Novalis, was virtually founded in , when the Schlegels began to publish their journal the Athenaeum ; but the actual existence of the school was of very short duration.
Wackenroder and Novalis died young, and by the year the other members were widely separated. Two years later, however, another phase of Romanticism became associated with the town of Heidelberg. The leaders of this second or younger Romantic school were K. Brentano , L. Compared with the earlier school the Heidelberg writers were more practical and realistic, more faithful to nature and the commonplace life of everyday.
Arndt , K. The Prussian capital, hotbed of rationalism as it was, had, from the first, been intimately associated with Romanticism; the first school had virtually been founded there, and north Germans, like Heinrich von Kleist and Zacharias Werner had done more for the development of the Romantic drama than had the members of either Romantic school.
At the same time, Berlin was not a favourable soil for the development of Romantic ideas, and the circle of poets which gathered round Arnim and Brentano there, either themselves demonstrated the decadence of these ideas, or their work contained elements which in subsequent years hastened the downfall of the movement. Hoffmann , powerful genius though he was, cultivated with preference in his stories, a morbid super-naturalism, which was only a decadent form of the early Romantic delight in the world of fairies and spirits.
The lyric was less sensitive to baleful influences, but even here the north German Romantic circle could only point to one lyric poet of the first rank, J. Apart from Eichendorff, the vital lyric poetry of the third and last phase of Romanticism must be looked for in the Swabian school, which gathered round Uhland. The merit of the Swabian circle, the chief members of which were J. Kerner , G. Schwab , W. Waiblinger , W.
Hauff and, most gifted of all, E. Meanwhile, in the background of all these phases of Romantic evolution, through which Germany passed between and , stands the majestic and imposing figure of Goethe. But, on the other hand, he was too liberal-minded a thinker and critic to be oblivious to the fruitful influence of the new movement.
Long before Romanticism had, as we have seen, begun to lose ground, and the July revolution of , the effects of which were almost as keenly felt in Germany as in France, gave the movement its death-blow. Meanwhile the march of ideas in Germany itself had not been favourable to Romanticism. Schelling had given place to G. Hegel , now the dominant force in German philosophy, and the Hegelian metaphysics proved as unfruitful an influence on literature as that of Fichte and Schelling had been fruitful.
The transference of Romantic ideas to the domain of practical religion and politics had proved reactionary in its effects; Romanticism became the cloak for a kind of Neo-catholicism, and Romantic politics, as enunciated by men like F. The day of Romanticism was clearly over; but a return to the classic and humanitarian spirit of the 18th century was impossible. The social condition of Europe had been profoundly altered by the French Revolution; the rise of industrialism had created new economic problems, the march of science had overturned old prejudices.
And in a still higher degree were the ideas which lay behind the social upheaval of the July revolution incompatible with a reversion in Germany to the conditions of Weimar classicism. There was, moreover, no disguising the fact that Goethe himself did not stand high with the younger generation of German writers who came into power after his death. Of these men, Heine was by far the most famous.
He had made his reputation in and with Die Harzreise and Das Buch der Lieder , both of which books show how deeply he was immersed in the Romantic traditions. He, too, had become a man of letters under the influence of the July revolution, and with an early novel, Wally, die Zweiflerin , which was then regarded as atheistic and immoral, he fought in the battle for the new ideas. Strauss , author of the Leben Jesu , the historians G. Gervinus and W. Menzel , and the philosopher L.
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The historical novel, for instance, which Romanticists like Arnim had cultivated, fell at an early date under the influence of Sir Walter Scott; Wilhelm Hauff, Heinrich Zschokke and K. Spindler were the most prominent amidst the many imitators of the Scottish novelist. The drama, again, which since Kleist and Werner had been without definite principles, was, partly under Austrian influence, finding its way back to a condition of stability.
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In Germany proper, the men into whose hands it fell were, on the one hand, undisciplined geniuses such as C. Grabbe , or, on the other, poets with too little theatrical blood in their veins like K. Immermann , or with too much, like E. In those years the Germans were more seriously interested in their opera, which, under C. Weber, H. Marschner, A. Lortzing and O.
Nicolai, remained faithful to the Romantic spirit. In Austria, however, the drama followed lines of its own; here, at the very beginning of the century, H. His attempt is the more interesting, as the long development that had taken place in Germany between Gottsched and Schiller was virtually unrepresented in Austrian literature. As far as the poetic drama was concerned, Grillparzer stood alone, for E.
In other forms of dramatic literature Austria could point to many distinguished writers, notably the comedy-writer, E. Raimund and J. Nestroy , cultivated the popular Viennese farce and fairy-play. The transitional character of the age is best illustrated by two eminent writers whom outward circumstances rather than any similarity of character and aim have classed together.
These were K. Immermann, who has been already mentioned, and A. He looked backwards rather than forwards; he saw himself as the belated follower of a great literary age rather than as the pioneer of a new one. But in his poetry he showed himself indifferent to the strife of contending literary schools.
He began as an imitator of the German oriental poets—the only Romanticists with whom he had any personal sympathy—and with his matchless Sonette aus Venedig he stands out as a master in the art of verse-writing and as the least subjective of all German lyric poets. In the imitation of Romance metres he sought a refuge from the extravagances and excesses of the Romantic decadence. The principles which triumphed in France at the revolution of were, to a great extent, fought out by the German singers of and Begun by mediocre talents like N. Becker and R. Prutz , the movement found a vigorous champion in Georg Herwegh , who in his turn succeeded in winning Ferdinand Freiligrath for the revolutionary cause.
Others joined in the cry for freedom—F. Dingelstedt , A. Hoffmann von Fallersleben , and a number of Austrians, who had even more reason for rebellion and discontent than the north Germans. If Freiligrath be excepted, the chief lyric poets of this epoch stood aside from the revolutionary movement; even E. The literature of the middle of the century was not wanting in achievement, but there was nothing buoyant or youthful about it; most significant of all, the generation between and was either oblivious or indifferent to the good work and to the new and germinating ideas which it produced.
Hegel, who held the earlier half of the 19th century in his ban, was still all-powerful in the universities, but his power was on the wane in literature and public life. In literature and art, on which Hegel, as we have seen, had exerted so blighting an influence, his place was taken by the chief exponent of philosophic pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer The literature produced between and was preeminently one of prose fiction. As was perhaps only natural in an age of social and political interests, the historical novel occupies a subordinate place.
In the series of six novels, from Der Roland von Berlin to Dorothe , which Alexis published between and , he gave Germany, and more particularly Prussia, a historical fiction which might not unworthily be compared with the Waverley Novels. But Alexis had no successor, and the historical novel soon made way for a type of fiction in which the accurate reproduction of remote conditions was held of more account than poetic inspiration or artistic power.
The vogue of historical fiction was also transferred to some extent, as in English literature, to novels of American life and adventure, of which the chief German cultivators were K. With this group of writers may also be associated the German Bohemian, A. Stifter , who has called up unforgettable pictures and impressions of the life and scenery of his home. His Mecklenburg novels, especially Ut de Franzosentid , Ut mine Festungstid and Ut mine Stromtid , are a faithful reflection of Mecklenburg life and temperament, and hold their place beside the best German fiction of the period.
What Reuter did for Plattdeutsch prose, his contemporary, Klaus Groth , the author of Quickborn , did for its verse. We owe, however, the best German prose fiction of these years to two writers, whose affinity with the older Romanticists was closer. The north German, Theodor Storm is the author of a series of short stories of delicate, lyric inspiration, steeped in that elegiac Romanticism which harmonized so well with mid-century pessimism in Germany.
In the dramatic literature of these decades, at least as it was reflected in the repertories of the German theatres, there was little promise. French influence was, in general, predominant; French translations formed the mainstay of the theatre-directors, while successful German playwrights, such as R.
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Benedix and Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer , have little claim to consideration in a literary survey. But the German drama of this epoch is not to be judged solely by the theatres. At the middle of the century Germany could point to two writers who, each in his way, contributed very materially to the development of the modern drama. These were Friedrich Hebbel and Otto Ludwig Both of these men, as a later generation discovered, were the pioneers of that dramatic literature which at the close of the century accepted the canons of realism and aimed at superseding outward effects by psychological conflicts and problems of social life.
Hebbel, especially, must be regarded as the most original and revolutionary German dramatist of the 19th century. In this period of somewhat confused literary striving, there is, however, one body of writers who might be grouped together as a school, although the designation must be regarded rather as an outward accident of union than as implying conformity of aims. This is the group which Maximilian II. A leading spirit of the group was Emanuel Geibel, who, as we have seen, set a model to the German lyric in this age; F. Kinkel The romance was, in fact, one of the favourite vehicles of poetic expression of the Munich school, its most successful exponents being J.
Wolff b. Baumbach ; while others, such as H. Lingg and R. Hamerling devoted themselves to the more ambitious epic. The general tone of the literary movement was pessimistic, the hopelessness of the spiritual outlook being most deeply engrained in the verse of H. Lorm pseudonym for Heinrich Landesmann, and H. Leuthold On the whole, the most important member of the Munich group is Paul Heyse b. An essentially Latin genius, Heyse excels in stories of Italian life, where his lightness of touch and sense of form are shown to best advantage; but he has also written several long novels.
Of these, Kinder der Welt and, in a lesser degree, Im Paradiese , sum up the spirit and tendency of their time, just as, in earlier decades, Die Ritter vom Geiste , Problematische Naturen and Soll und Haben were characteristic of the periods which produced them. The intellectual basis of the latter movement was laid by Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx , author of Das Kapital vol. But even had such disturbing elements been wanting, the general tone of German intellectual life at that time was not buoyant enough to inspire a vigorous literary revival.
Strauss, was generally accepted at the German universities. To many the compromise which H. Lotze had attempted to establish between science and metaphysics, came as a relief from the Hegelian tradition, but in literature and art the dominant force was still, as before the war, the philosophy of Schopenhauer. In his Philosophie des Unbewussten , E. In lyric poetry, the dull monotony was broken by the excitement of the war, and the singers of the revolution of were among the first to welcome the triumph and unification of Germany.
Laube, Gutzkow and Auerbach were still writing; Fritz Reuter was a universal favourite; while among the writers of short stories, Storm, who, between and , put the crown to his work with his Chroniknovellen , and Paul Heyse were the acknowledged masters.
It was not until at least a decade later that the genius of Gottfried Keller was generally recognized. The historical novel seemed, in those days, beyond hope of revival. The classical iambic tragedy was cultivated by the Munich school, by A. Wilbrandt b. Lindner , H. Kruse , by the Austrian F. Nissel , and A. Fitger b.
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The most gifted German dramatist belonging exclusively to the decade between and was an Austrian, Ludwig Anzengruber , whose Pfarrer von Kirchfeld recalled the controversies of the Kulturkampf. But the really popular dramatists of this epoch were either writers who, like Benedix in the older generation, cultivated the bourgeoise comedy—A. Blumenthal b. Lindau b. The only sign of progress in the dramatic history of this period was the marked improvement of the German stage, an improvement due, on the one hand, to the artistic reforms introduced by the duke of Meiningen in the Court theatre at Meiningen, and, on the other hand, to the ideals of a national theatre realized at Bayreuth by Richard Wagner The last fifteen or twenty years of the 19th century were distinguished in Germany by a remarkable literary activity.
Among the younger generation, which was growing up as citizens of the united German empire, a more hopeful and optimistic spirit prevailed. The influence of Schopenhauer was on the wane, and at the universities Hegelianism had lost its former hold. Other historians of the period were H. Burckhardt , author of the masterly Kultur der Renaissance in Italien and the friend of Nietzsche, exerted an influence on German thought which was not confined to academic circles. Literary criticism perhaps benefited most of all by the dethronement of Hegel and the more objective attitude towards Schopenhauer; it seemed as if in this epoch the Germans first formed definite ideas—and ideas which were acceptable and accepted outside Germany—as to the rank and merits of their great poets.
Nietzsche had begun as a disciple of Schopenhauer and a friend of Wagner, and he ultimately became the champion of an individualistic and optimistic philosophy which formed the sharpest possible contrast to mid-century pessimism. The individual, not the race, the Herrenmensch , not the slave, self-assertion, not self-denying renunciation—these are some of the ideas round which this new optimistic ethics turns. Like Schopenhauer before him, Nietzsche was a stylist of the first rank, and his literary masterpiece, Also sprach Zarathustra , is to be regarded as the most important imaginative work of its epoch.
Nietzschean individualism was only one of many factors which contributed to the new literary development. Of the novelists of the latter class, A. Wilbrandt, who has already been mentioned as a dramatist, has shown, since about , a remarkable power of adapting himself, if not to the style and artistic methods of the younger school, at least to the ideas by which it was agitated; F. To the older school belong Wilhelm Jensen b. Seidel and W. Busch Some of the most interesting examples of recent German fiction come, however, from Austria and Switzerland. The two most eminent Austrian authors, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach b.
Austrians too, are Peter Rosegger b. Franzos and L. German prose fiction is, in Switzerland, represented by two writers of the first rank: one of these, Gottfried Keller, has already been mentioned; the other, Konrad Ferdinand Meyer , turned to literature or, at least, made his reputation, comparatively late in life. Although, like Keller, a writer of virile, original verse, Meyer is best known as a novelist; he, too, was a master of the short story.
His themes are drawn by preference from the epoch of the Renaissance, and his method is characterized by an objectivity of standpoint and a purity of style exceptional in German writers. The realistic novels of the period were written by H. Conradi , Max Kretzer b. Conrad b. Heiberg b. Bleibtreu b. Alberti pseudonym for Konrad Sittenfeld, b. A want of stability was, however, as has been already indicated, characteristic of the realistic movement in Germany; the idealistic trend of the German mind proved itself ill-adapted to the uncompromising realism of the French school, and the German realists, whether in fiction or in drama, ultimately sought to escape from the logical consequences of their theories.
Even Sudermann, whose Frau Sorge , Der Katzensteg , and the brilliant, if somewhat sensational romance, Es war , are among the best novels of this period, has never been a consistent realist. It is consequently not surprising to find that, before long, German fiction returned to psychological and emotional problems, to the poetical or symbolical presentation of life, which was more in harmony with the German temperament than was the robuster realism of Flaubert or Zola.
This trend is noticeable in the work of Gustav Frenssen b. One might say, indeed, that at the beginning of the 20th century the traditional form of German fiction, the Bildungsroman , had come into its ancient rights again. Reviewing applications can be fun and only takes a few minutes.
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