German and Song 1740 - 1900: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

German and Song 1740 - 1900

1st Edition

By John Smeed


258 pages

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Hardback: 9780367856960
pub: 2019-12-31
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Originally published in 1987, this volume charts the development of German song across a century and a half, relating it both to poetry and to the cultural scene in Germany. By emphasising genre rather than individual composers and while paying heed to acknowledged masterpieces – by quoting extensively from forgotten composers, the book avoids historical over simplification and arrives at a fuller picture of this rich tradition. In so doing, it uncovers much neglected material. The book investigates the relationship between German poets and composers and their native folk tradition. It further explores the interaction between convention and innovation and demonstrates how one poem can be interpreted quite differently by different composers. The book is accessible both to students of literature and music.

Table of Contents

1. The Beginnings: 1740-80 2. ‘Im Volkston’ 3. Switzerland and Austria 4. Song-Texts in the Latter Part of the Eighteenth Century 5. Composers and Performers 6. Simplicity as an ideal 7. The New Adventurousness in the Late Eighteenth Century 8. The Eighteenth Century – A Summing Up 9. From the turn of the Century to Schumann, Mendelssohn and Franz 10. The Development Towards Great Complexity 11. Theories of Song and the Ideal of ‘Hausmusik’ 12. The Importance of Folksong 13. A General Assessment 14. Paths into the Twentieth Century

About the Author

J. W. Smeed was Reader in German at the University of Durham, U.K.

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: German Literature

Originally published between 1938 and 1996, the volumes in this set provide a survey of German poetry, prose and fiction from the Middle Ages to the late 20th Century. In many cases no prior knowledge of German is necessary, as translations into English are provided. Many of the books focus particularly on German writers and literature from an international perspective.

The books:

  • Analyse Naturalism, Impressionism, Neo-romanticism and Expressionism as well as dealing exhaustively with Surrealism, Magic Realism and Existentialism.

  • Include discussion of post-war Anglo-American and French literature.


  • Provide guidebooks through the masses of periodicals and allows the English side of the Anglo-German literary relationship to be explored in detail.

  • Present a detailed analysis of the major literary movements in Austria and Germany from the end of the nineteenth century to the collapse of the Third Reich


  • Examine two of the central themes of medieval German mythology, the Dietrich and Nibelung legends

  • Survey the development of political writing in the former Federal Republic of Germany, Illustrating the connections between literature and politics


  • Elucidate the concealed meanings in some of the more obscure writings of great authors such as Goethe

  • Provides a full survey of the best and most significant work of German writers to the First World War.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / German