Modern German Literature, 1880-1950

Modern German Literature, 1880-1950

Modern German Literature, 1880-1950

Modern German Literature, 1880-1950

Excerpt

When, two years ago, I prepared the second edition of my Germany: A Companion to German Studies, I wrote an account of Nazi literature which turned out to be too bulky for inclusion in the volume unless my sketch of Nazi history was cut down to the barest outline; and the publishers agreed to my proposal that I should expand the essay on German literature after 1880 in the first edition to form a separate volume which should deal comprehensively and critically with the whole mass of the literature concerned. This literature of more than eighty millions -- for I was bound to bring in the Swiss Germans as well as all the other Auslandsdeutsche -- is so vast that even in the generous space allotted me by the publishers I have found it difficult to deal with all I considered worthy of treatment. The difficulties have been aggravated by the insistency of Nazi propaganda, which by its very nature keeps in the limelight those writers ('die Künder des Dritten Reiches', 'die Dichter des heimlichen Deutschlands') who before 1933 had the foresight to be volkhaft or the prudence to be so after that date. Another difficulty was the suppression of biographical and bibliographical detail; e.g. such books of reference as Wer ist's? are maddening in their planned and regulated insufficiency. At all events, I have tried to do justice to all my authors, whether boomed or banned; and, since on this side of the water there could be no question of taking over Nazi valuations, the verdict is in every case my own.

I am very grateful for authorizations to quote poems -- they include some of the very best of the period; and I must express my thanks to firms and individuals -- to the Insel-Verlag, Leipzig, for Rilke; to Georg Bondi, Berlin, for Stefan George; to the Albert Langen/Georg Müller Verlag for Dauthendey; to the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, for Liliencron; to the Otto . . .

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