Medusa's Mirror: Studies in German Literature

By August Closs | Go to book overview

PREFACE

'A man in print. . . shall stand, like the old weathercock over Paul's steeple, to be beaten with all storms': Thomas Dekker , The Wonderful Year 1603.

I cherish the hope that this collection of essays and pieces will find a place not only among students of German but also among lovers of literature in general.

The chapters of the present collection are not forced into a unity. But under the title 'Medusa's Mirror' I have gathered several of my short literary compositions in which directly or indirectly the theme of Reality and Poetic Symbol is dealt with. Analysis and interpretation are, I trust, kept in balance. There is also an outer connecting link of the subject matter to be found, since almost all sections of this book, heterogeneous as they may appear to be, are dedicated to the study of German literature. Some have been revised, others are entirely new. Occasional repetition is unavoidable in order to retain the unity of each chapter. Most important and difficult German quotations have been translated into English or paraphrased.

In a planned sequel to this volume I hope to be able to dedicate myself to the great essayists and prose writers: F. Kafka, Thomas Mann, H. Hesse, H. von Hofmannsthal, Ernst Jünger, H. Broch, and others.

I am grateful to all those Publishers and Editors who have generously allowed me to reprint in revised form articles of mine which have appeared in journals and book editions: the Modern Language Quarterly, University of Washington Seattle; the Fédération Internationale des Langues et Littératures Modernes (Proceedings of the fifth and sixth Triennial Congresses, Florence and Oxford); German Life and Letters, Oxford; The Phoenix Press, London; Fred Marnau New Road 4, Directions in European Art and Letters, Grey Walls Press, London; Basil Blackwell's German Texts, Oxford; The Contemporay Review, London. I am also grateful to Messrs. John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd. who have allowed me to reprint extracts from G. Dunlop's translation of The Plays of G. Büchner.

-vii-

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