The Dear Purchase: A Theme in German Modernism

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1995 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 467 p. Cambridge Studies in German. Audience: General/trade. BRAND NEW

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Overview

This book studies individual works by twelve major writers of German modernism, including Thomas Mann, Musil, Brecht and Rilke, in relation to the history of the twentieth century. It explores the theme of the <'dear purchase>', an ideal of moral strenuousness and sacrifice seen as characteristic of Germany after Nietzsche, and reveals the underlying flaw in this notion as a self-justifying value. In this context, it considers the renaissance of German poetry after 1900, the impact of the War of 1914, its aftermath in uncertainty and relativism, and attitudes to the Hitler period, and finally juxtaposes Mann>'s Felix Krull and Kafka>'s story Josephine as a deliverance from the value-system of the title. The Introduction, partly autobiographical, traces J.P. Stern>'s preoccupation with this interpretation of his material in many of the books he published (especially those concerned with Nietzsche and Hitler), and pays tribute to Wittgenstein>'s influence on his thinking.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stern is a brave traveller, and—on the subject of literature as distinct from the events of history—a magnanimous observer, more disposed to understand than to accuse." D.J. Enright, German Literature

"This book has historical value, documenting a critical as well as loving reception of twentieth-century German literature by one who was deeply affected by the upheavals of this century caused by Germans. It engages the reader when Stern, though basically conservative, transcends so many shopworn conventions. The reader is enriched by it, even when he or she disagrees." Herbert Lehnert, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521433303
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/2/1995
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in German Series
  • Pages: 467
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Editor's preface
Introduction 1
1 The theme 25
2 Reality 61
3 Relativity 84
Oswald Spengler: The Decline of the West 88
Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain 110
Robert Musil: The Man Without Qualities 135
4 The Great War 183
Ernst Junger's The Storm of Steel 183
Hans Carossa: Roumanian Diary 198
Stefan George: 'Der Krieg' 211
Georg Trakl: 'Grodek' 240
5 The purchase of poetry 254
Rainier Maria Rilke: transitions 254
Gottfried Benn: toxic spheres 304
Bertolt Brecht: the social engagement 326
6 Rendering account 346
Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game: a game of utopia 346
History and allegory: Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus 363
7 A deliverance of sorts 382
Living in the metaphor of fiction: Thomas Mann's Felix Krull 382
Franz Kafka: Josephine the Singer; or The Mouse People 394
8 Postscript: the divided self 410
Notes 418
Index 441
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