Academic journal article German Quarterly

Literatur und Geschichte: Festschrift fur Wulf Koepke zum 70. Geburtstag

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Literatur und Geschichte: Festschrift fur Wulf Koepke zum 70. Geburtstag

Article excerpt

Menges, Karl, ed. Literatur and Geschichte: Festschrift fir Wulf Koepke zum 70. Geburtstag. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998. DM 108.00 paperback.

It is both fortunate and too bad that it is unseemly for people to review Festschriften dedicated to them. Fortunate, because otherwise Wulf Koepke would probably have done this review by now, being even more productive in "retirement" than when he was, as Steven Oberhelman wittily recounts, a tireless professor at Texas A & M. Too bad, because he is one of the few people who could have pronounced specifically with authority on all the topics presented in the twenty contributions.

Wisely, the editorial committee chose to be selective, concentrating on three main areas that reflect Koepke's research and teaching interests, out of the many that might have been included. They are loosely chronological in sequence. In the eighteenth century, scholarship on Herder is well represented with essays by Hans Adler, Regine Otto, Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges. These are complemented by Wolfgang Wittkowski on Thomasius's importance for Lessing's dramas, by Martin Bollacher on "noble savages" ("edle Wilde") in German literature of the eighteenth century, and by Beate Allert on "Die Unsichtbare Loge: Jean Paul's Critique of Ocularcentrism."

Norbert Oellers on Lenau in the United States of America makes a nice transition, alluding implicitly to Koepke's own odyssey, and leading into a cluster of articles on exile literature. No less than eighteenth-century studies and Herder studies, research into Exilliteratur counts him as one of its founding and sustaining members. The themes are necessarily difficult ones. Helmut F. Pfanner deals with Doblin's view of the conquest of South America; Samson B. Knoll re-evaluates Theodor Plivier's war trilogy, Moskau-Stalingrad-Berlin; Richard Critchfield tells the story of the actor Fritz Kortner; Guy Stern discusses Grete Weil's relation to Biblical and classical sources; Ernst Schurer reflects on Franz Jung's exile; Michael Winkler analyses Gustav Regler's novels about America. …

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