German Literature of the Eighteenth Century

German Literature of the Eighteenth Century

The Enlightenment and Sensibility

Edited by Barbara Becker-Cantarino


Camden House



New essays tracing the 18th-century literary revival in German-speaking lands and the cultural developments that accompanied it.
The Enlightenment was based on the use of reason, common sense, and "natural law," and was paralleled by an emphasis on feelings and the emotions in religious, especially Pietist circles. Progressive thinkers in England, France, and later in Germany began to assail the absolutism of the state and the orthodoxy of the Church; in Germany the line led from Leibniz, Thomasius, and Wolff to Lessing and Kant, and eventually to the rise of an educated upper middle class. Literary developments encompassed the emergence of a national theater, literature, and a common literary language. This became possible in part because of advances in literacy and education, especially among bourgeois women, and the reorganization of book production and the book market. This major new reference work provides a fresh look at the major literary figures, works, and cultural developments from around 1700 up to the late Enlightenment. They trace the 18th-century literary revival in German-speaking countries: from occasional and learned literature under the influence of French Neoclassicism to the establishment of a new German drama, religious epic and secular poetry, and the sentimentalist novel of self-fashioning. The volume includes the new, stimulating works of women, a chapter on music and literature, chapters on literary developments in Switzerland and in Austria, and a chapter on reactions to the Enlightenment from the 19th century to the present. The recent revaluing of cultural and social phenomena affecting literary texts informs the presentations in the individual chapters and allows for the inclusion of hitherto neglected but important texts such as essays, travelogues, philosophical texts, and letters.

Contributors: Kai Hammermeister, Katherine Goodman, Helga Brandes, Rosmarie Zeller, Kevin Hilliard, Francis Lamport, Sarah Colvin, Anna Richards, Franz M. Eybl, W. Daniel Wilson, Robert Holub.

Barbara Becker-Cantarino is Research Professor in German at the Ohio State University.


November 2004
12 black and white illustrations
362 pages
9x6 in
Camden House History of German Literature
ISBN: 9781571132468
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT012000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Rise of German Literature in the Era of Enlightenment and Sensibility: Recent Research and Revaluations - Barbara Becker-Cantarino
Enlightened Thought and Natural Law from Leibnitz to Kant and its Influence on Literature - Kai Hammermeister
Neoclassicism, the Gottscheds, and New Beginnings in German Literature - Katherine R. Goodman
The Literary Marketplace, New Media, and New Genres - Helga Brandes
Literary Developments in Switzerland from Bodmer, Breitinger, and Haller to Gessner, Rousseau, and Pestalozzi - Rosmarie Zeller
Religious and Secular Poetry and Epic, 1700-1780 - Kevin F. Hilliard
Lessing, Bourgeois Drama, and the National Theater - F. J. Lamport
Musical Culture and Thought in Eighteenth-Century Germany - Sarah Colvin
The Era of Sensibility and the Novel of Self-Fashioning - Anna Richards
Enlightenment in Austria: Cultural Identity and National Literature - Franz M. Eybl
Eighteenth-Century Germany in its Historical Context - W. Daniel Wilson
The Legacy of the Enlightenment: Critique from Herder and Hamann to Horkheimer/Adorno and Habermas - Robert Holub


(The book) is accessibly written and the international range of authors opens up a variety of scholarly perspectives; well-chosen illustrations contribute an additional dimension, and a helpful bibliography lists a judicious selection of general and author-specific works.... A magisterial view of cultural developments in this period.... MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

This is a splendid volume that in every respect meets the expectations of the series in which it is published. Highly recommended. CHOICE

German Literature of the Eighteenth-Century is an impressive accomplishment, one that takes full advantage of the opportunities offered by a multi-volume history. The contributors cite extensively from the works discussed and devote time to both canonical and non-canonical figures, but they never lose their focus or lapse into an asyndetic compilation of facts. Indeed, many of the essays are organized around innovative theses such that they will prove enlightening even to specialists. (...) (The work) will serve as an invaluable reference for a wide range of readers, both students at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as faculty. H-GERMAN REVIEWS

The present volume is an straightforward text that aims -- in best Anglo-Saxon tradition -- for readability, and which informs the reader competently about essential aspects of the Enlightenment. All quotations from German original texts are translated into English. INTERNATIONALES ARCHIV FÜR SOZIALGESCHICHTE DER DEUTSCHEN LITERATUR

The articles, rich in detail and analysis, represent on the one hand independent studies, but on the other they also succeed in constituting a coherent volume. The conception and structure of the articles, as well as the choice of illustrations, reveal aside from the competence of the individual authors the meticulous oversight of the editor. SEMINAR

These essays by highly qualified scholars are sure to be welcomed by the scholarly community. As they provide sufficient conventional wisdom about the period, they also open up new territory, e.g., the role of women and the interconnection to the social and historical backdrop, such that the volume will surpass many traditional literary histories. THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CURRENT BIBLIOGRAPHY

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