The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature

By Friederike Eigler; Susanne Kord | Go to book overview

O

Occasional Literature --see: Gelegenheitsdichtung

Ode. Any poem composed in lofty language--whether written in classical ode meter or not--can be considered an ode. Since an ode was originally meant to be sung, this type of poem is usually divided into verses. Traditionally, the ode has been occasional poetry commemorating nature, friends, deaths, or heroines or heroes. With subject matter ranging from the divine to the mundane, odes often also reflect on poetic production and can include references to ancient mythology, for example, Karoline von Günderrode's "An Melete" ( 1806). Horace's metrical forms and light, singable style made him the most influential of the ancient ode authors. Sappho's works, also considered very songlike, were widely available in German from about 1705 onward. The nature poetry of Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg and the odes of Anna Louisa Karsch, with their themes of kings, wars, intellectual luminaries, and so on, epitomize this branch of the tradition. Friederike Brun's elegiac odes introduce a more emotional, melancholic note; Claire Goll's "An***" ( 1922) idealizes the American wilderness, and Sarah Kirsch's "Kiesel" ( 1979) elevates even gravel to a subject of literary praise.

The ode also possesses a more cerebral and Pindaric style, which is most often associated with Friedrich Hölderlin and the use of a tripartite structure. Remnants of this ode tradition can perhaps be detected in Friederike Mayröcker's opaque odes, which, as her titles indicate, often center on abstractions: "Ode an Vergänglichkeit" ( 1973), "Ode an einen Ort." Ingeborg Bachmann's "An die Sonne" ( 1956) stages a tension between the presence and absence of sunlight

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The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 37
  • C 61
  • D 83
  • E 105
  • F 139
  • G 195
  • H 229
  • I 253
  • J 263
  • K 271
  • L 275
  • M 293
  • N 345
  • O 375
  • P 383
  • Q 429
  • R 431
  • S 465
  • T 515
  • U 531
  • V 537
  • W 553
  • Y 579
  • Z 581
  • Appendix of Names 587
  • Index 637
  • Contributors 673
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