The Modern German Novel: A Mid-Twentieth Century Survey

By H. M. Waidson | Go to book overview

X
NOVEL AND SHORT STORY

RECENT novelists who have favoured the large-scale, monumental novel have nearly always been practitioners who belong to the generation which was adult in the nineteen-twenties and looked towards Joyce, Proust and their contemporaries as models. If the 'experimental' novel of forty years ago has long since ceased to be a novelty in this country, it has made a renewed appeal in Germany since 1945, in part because German authors who had been frustrated of foreign influences during the Nazi period were eager to make up for lost time by emulating the analytical and often esoteric novels of the nineteen-twenties. Younger authors who have come to writing since 1945 have up to now been more reluctant to embark on books of vast dimensions. Writing has for them not been based on a calculation that twenty or thirty years will be at their disposal for the perfecting of a great work. There may be only one year or one week to write in; and so a novel will seldom be more than 100,000 words long, and the short story will be chosen more frequently as being more rewarding of immediate effect and a more suitable vehicle for the expression of the mood of the moment in a social situation that is changing rapidly. This chapter, while reviewing novels as well as shorter prose fiction by a number of recent authors, will have to give more emphasis to the short story than earlier sections, for this genre figures more extensively in their work.

To what extent are we justified in referring to the short story as an independent literary form in Germany, it may be asked. And are we not accustomed to thinking in terms of novel (Roman) and novella (Novelle) as predominant narrative forms during the nineteenth century? This is indeed the case, and the novel certainly continues to flourish, though the traditional Novelle is being

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The Modern German Novel: A Mid-Twentieth Century Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • I - The Blurred Edges of Realism 1
  • II - Documentation 16
  • III - Past Time 33
  • IV - The Idyllic Ideal 42
  • V - Irony and Conviction 51
  • VI - 'the Golden Future Time' 62
  • VII - The Observers 72
  • VIII - Surrealism 78
  • IX - The Length of Time 90
  • X - Novel and Short Story 104
  • XI - Summing Up 115
  • Select Bibliography 120
  • List of Authors and Works 123
  • Index 129
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