Imagining the Age of Goethe in German Literature, 1970-2010

August 2011
222 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571135179
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT020000

Imagining the Age of Goethe in German Literature, 1970-2010

John D. Pizer

The first scholarly book treating the huge amount of recent and contemporary fiction set in the Age of Goethe and employing Goethe and other figures of the period as characters.
The Age of Goethe is widely viewed as the apogee of German culture. Its writers and thinkers, especially Goethe, have been exalted as role models for life and art, particularly after 1945. Yet in the 1970s, a new generation of German writers in both East and West rebelled against the postwar hagiography, taking up a tradition of imaginatively engaging with the giants of the period, casting them in major roles in their works in order to critique the nation's past and its present, a tradition that has been carried on by more contemporary writers.
This is the first book-length study devoted to modern German "author-as-character" fiction set in the Age of Goethe. It shows for the first time in a sustained manner the powerful hold the Goethezeit continues to exercise on the imagination of many of Germany's leading writers. This inner-German dialogue across the ages provides an important corrective to the dominant critical view that contemporary German-language literature is composed primarily under the sign of both globalization and the influence of mass American culture. The book will be of interest to both scholars of the Goethezeit and of contemporary German literature and culture.

John D. Pizer is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University.

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Table of Contents

Staging Violence and Transcendence, Embracing Feminism:The Instantiation of Kleist and German Romanticism
Hölderlins East and West
Between Feminism and National Identity:The Historical Novels of Renate Feyl
Goethe Contra and Pro
Savaging and Salvaging the German Enlightenment


It is not often that a study provides us with such a winning examination of the underpinnings of authorial thinking and of literary movements that so directly connect two centuries as distantly separated as the eighteenth and twentieth . . . . Yet John Pizer has managed to elucidate something new about the Goethezeit and its direct relation to the literature of our time. GOETHE YEARBOOK

Absorbing. . . . Well researched, learned, and lively, this informative volume will help readers discern directions undertaken by contemporary writers who redefine some of Germany's cultural icons. [. . .] Recommended. CHOICE

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