German Influence in American Education and Culture

German Influence in American Education and Culture

German Influence in American Education and Culture

German Influence in American Education and Culture

Excerpt

German literature in modern times was slower in attaining distinction than either English or French literature. The religious wars in the wake of the Reformation culminating in the destructive Thirty Years' War put German culture and intellectual life definitely behind that of the Western nations. In all matters pertaining to literature, intellectual refinement and progress the Germans were not taken seriously by the English or the French during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. But from the middle of the eighteenth century on we witness an astonishing development of German literature and culture which, by the end of the century, put Germany at the head of European nations in things of the spirit and intellect. The epoch is marked by the appearance of the first three cantos of Klopstock Messias in 1748 and of Goethe Faust in 1808, the greatest work of poetry since the dramas of Shakespeare. This new richness of German life was not recognized abroad for some time. The German language was little known outside of Central Europe and foreigners were not accustomed to look to Germany for intellectual inspiration. There is only . . .

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