The Genius of the German Lyric: An Historic Survey Of Its Formal And Metaphysical Values, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Genius of the German Lyric

An Historic Survey Of Its Formal And Metaphysical Values, 1st Edition

By August Closs


472 pages

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Hardback: 9780367820343
pub: 2019-12-31
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Originally published in 1938 and updated in 1962, this remains one of the few comprehensive studies of the German lyric in any language, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 1960s. By the use of detailed critical analysis the book interprets the essence of German lyric poetry and includes a study of the phases of German literature in the first half of the 20th Century.


‘This book is, and will remain, an outstanding achievement…’ Contemporary Review

‘The first comprehensive study of the German Lyric to be published in any language. It is an important contribution to the literature of its field and should be in every college library.’ Modern Language Journal

‘This is a pioneer book…’ Anglo-German Review

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Origins of the German Lyric. The German Minnesingers. The Mastersingers. 2. The German Folk-Song 3. Decline and Rebirth 4. Opitz. Further Developments of the Baroque Lyric. 5. Aufklärung and Pietism 6. Klopstock 7. Hölderlin 8. German Romanticism Proper and Further Developments 9. Austria, Biedermeier, Grillparzer 10. The Political Lyric Round About the Years 1830 and 1840-1848. The Munich Circle 11. Droste-Hülshoff. Eduard Mörike. The Swiss Lyric Poets. North German Lyric Poets 12. Changing Views. Nietzsche. Arno Holz. Impressionism and Neo-Romanticism. Expressionism. R. M. Rilke. Stefan George and the "Third Humanism". Counter-Currents and New Paths. Volkhafte Dichtung of the Present Day.

About the Author

August Closs was Head of the German Department at the University of Bristol.

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…

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