The Twentieth Century 1890-1945: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Twentieth Century 1890-1945

1st Edition

By Raymond Furness


300 pages

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pub: 2020-02-12
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Originally published in 1978, this study presents 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. It examines the plethora of literary genres which marked the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century: the short-lived Naturalist movement rapidly giving way to various forms of symbolism and neo-romanticism. The situation in Vienna is studied in detail; the concept of modernism vis-à-vis expressionism with special regard to Rilke and Kafka. The literature of the Weimar period is also analysed, with emphasis on the symphonic novels of the time and the anti-illusionist devices of Brecht. It also draws a comparison between the literary situation in Nazi Germany and the literature of exile, and the positions of Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Brecht and Gottfried Benn are examined.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction: Naturalism and Its Decline 2. Jung-Wien 3. Aestheticism, Decadence and Neo-Romanticism in Germany 4. The Cosmic Dimension 5. Modernism and ‘Sprachkrise’ 6. The Problem of Expressionism 7. The 1920s and 1930s 8. Barbarism, Exile and Return

About the Author

Raymond Furness was at the Universities of Manchester and St. Andrews

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.

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