By Neil H. Donahue
Greater than the other avant-garde flow, German Expressionism captures the progressive depth of twentieth-century modernity in all its contrasts and conflicts. In non-stop eruptions from 1905 to 1925, Expressionism disappointed reigning practices within the arts: in its so much consultant style of portray and the visible arts, strong figurations and dynamic abstractions supplanted placid realism, and a palette of vividly luminescent shades eclipsed subdued earth tones. In literature, the swap was once both stark: a heady intellectualism mixed with dramatic gesture, photo visions, exuberant feelings and pressing proclamations --along with a brand new feel of the unexplored efficiency and strength of uncooked language -- to forge forceful kinds of verbal expression. Expressionism brought into paintings, either visible and verbal, a surprisingly new depth with many points and plenty of faces. This quantity provides German Expressionism by way of its literature, that is some distance much less recognized within the English-speaking international, with essays by means of top students on Expressionism's philosophical origins, its thematic preoccupations, and its divergent stylistic manifestations in and throughout varied genres by means of writers whose universal bond is depth and whose traces at the web page learn just like the gouges of a woodcut. An interdisciplinary part addresses Expressionism's gender kinfolk, how girls seemed within the literature after which disappeared from literary background, and the way the classy impulses of Expressionism entered into movie as a brand new know-how of expression, a brand new type of visible narrative. This quantity demonstrates how, among its origins in philosophy and its afterlife in movie, Expressionism's aesthetic energies stretched and revised the bounds of traditional literary genres into vastly new and diverse kinds: in lots of methods, the margins are vital to the experimental paintings of Expressionism. This quantity good points figures corresponding to Georg Kaiser, Walter Hasenclever, and Ernst Toller in drama; Gottfried Benn, Georg Heym, Else Lasker-Sch?ler, and Georg Trakl in poetry; Alfred D?blin, Carl Einstein, and Carl Sternheim in prose, to call quite a few. opposed to the historical past of the journals, exhibitions, and anthologies, the caf? assembly locations and public lifetime of Expressionism, the volume's hugely concentrated, intrinsic analyses of texts and entire overviews of extrinsic contexts (and of the main updated study) exhibits the fervor and complexity of the interval and its effulgent literary formations. Neil H. Donahue is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Hofstra college.
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Extra info for A Companion to the Literature of German Expressionism (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of German Film. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1947, 1974. Kuhns, David F. German Expressionist Theatre: The Actor and the Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. Kurtz, Rudolf. Expressionismus und Film. Berlin: Verlag der Lichtbild-Bühne, 1926. Lloyd, Jill. German Expressionism: Primitivism and Modernity. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1991. Lukács, Georg. ” (1934). In 4 Essays über den Realismus, vol. 1 of Probleme des Realismus, 109–49. Neuwied & Berlin: Luchterhand, 1971.
Primitivism” in Twentieth-Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and Modern. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1984. Rumold, Rainer. Janus Face of the German Avant-garde: From Expressionism to Postmodernism. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2002. Scheunemann, Dietrich. Expressionist Film: New Perspectives. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2003. Schmitt, Hans-Jürgen, ed. Die Expressionismusdebatte: Materialien zu einer marxistischen Realismuskonzeption. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1973. Schürer, Ernst, ed.
Perry Willett’s essay in this volume constitutes a landmark inclusion of the woodcut novel into discussions of Expressionism, where it rightly belongs. The strong lines of plot and picture in the graphic novel reinforce one another in a compact message of social critique and political protest against inequities in post-First-World-War German society. Of course, the single greatest confrontation with modernity by German artists took the form of the First World War (1914–18), which marked the chronological center of the Expressionist decade (1910–20): some artists had anticipated the war in their apocalyptic visions (Georg Heym), others joined naïvely in the nationalist fervor, while for others it became the focal point of their critique of German society and modern technological capitalism.