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HANDBOOKS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. Edited by J. W.
Hales, M.A., Professor of English Literature at King's College,
London, formerly Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, late English
Examiner in the University of London, and Clark Lecturer at Trinity
College, Cambridge. Crown 8vo, 3s. 6d. each :

THE AGE OF POPE. By John Dennis.

THE AGE OF DRYDEN. By B. Garnett, C.B., LL.D.

In preparation.

THE AGE OF CHAUCER. By Professor Hales.

THE AGE OF SHAKESPEARE. By Professor Hales.

THE AGE OF MILTON. By J. Bass Mullinger and J. H. B.

Masterman.

THE AGE OF JOHNSOX. By T. Seccombe.
THE AGE OF WORDSWORTH. By Professor C. H. Herf ord.

Other volumes to follow.




A HANDBOOK

OF

GERMAN LITERATURE,



GEORGE BELL & SONS,

LONDON : YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN
AND NEW YORK : 66, FIFTH AVENUE
CAMBRIDGE : DEIGHTON, BELL CO.



A HANDBOOK

OF



GERMAN LITERATURE



BY



MARY E., PHILLIPS, L.L.A.



REVISED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY

A. WEISS, PH.D.

PROFESSOR OF GERMAN AT THE ROYAL MILITARY
ACADEMY, WOOLWICH.




LONDON

GEORGE BELL AND SONS
1895





CHISWICK PRESS : CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.



PREFACE.

THE object of this little work is to supply a want, which
the writer believes to be felt by many teachers and learners
of German in our schools, by placing in the hands of the
pupil a text-book which may form the basis of lessons,
and furnish a useful introduction to the study of German
Literature.

In treating a subject of such scope within the narrow
limits which the writer has permitted herself, it has been
found obligatory to allot a few words only to many authors,
who may, with advantage, be studied at greater length at
a later period. No attempt has been made to deal with
many of the less important modern writers, and the effort
throughout has been to bring the greatest into greatest
prominence, as the most fruitful and effective beginning of
all study. This is the reason of the space large in so
small a book allotted to Goethe and Schiller and their
immortal works.

A synopsis of great works has in all cases been given,
and criticism not wholly disregarded, so that a bald list
of names and dates alone may not be placed before the
learner.

The Author cannot let this opportunity pass without
acknowledging her great obligation to Dr. A. Weiss, Pro-
fessor of German at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich,
who, in addition to many valuable suggestions, has with

556722.1



VI PREFACE.

vast pains and ability corrected and proved the whole of her
work by untiring reference to originals and recognized
authorities, and has also furnished the list of books which
is placed at the end.

It is hoped that this little book may be useful in the
preparation of candidates for the Army, and the University
Local Examinations, and for the Examinations for the
Junior and Senior Leaving Certificates.

M. E. P.



CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

INTRODUCTION ........ ix

I. THE ORIGIN OF GERMAN LITERATURE ... 1
II. " ERSTE BLUTEZEIT," OR FIRST GOLDEN AGE,

1150-1300 /. . ... . , . 6

III. "ERSTE BLUTEZEIT" (CONTINUED). THE EPICS

OF THE COURT, OR " HOFISCHES EPOS" . . 15

IV. HOFISCHE LYRIK . / 22

V. 1. PERIOD OF DECADENCE, 1300-1500. 2. REFOR -

MATION AND REVIVAL OF LITERATURE . . 29

VI. SPRACHGESELLSCHAFTEN. PERIOD OF IMITATION,
1624-1748. THE Two SILESIAN SCHOOLS OF
POETRY AND FOLLOWING WRITERS ... 36
VII. LEIPZIG. ZURICH. HALLER AND HAGEDORN.

PRUSSIA. KLOPSTOCK. WIELAND ... 44
VIII. GOTTINGER DlCHTERBUND. LESSING ... 57
IX. HERDER. " STURM UND DRANG." THE YOUTH

OF GOETHE. THE YOUTH OF SCHILLER . . 69

X. GOETHE 79

XI. SCHILLER 93

XII. THE ROMANTIC SCHOOL. AUGUST VON PLATEN.

THE AUSTRIAN POETS 104

XIII. " GESUNDETE ROMANTIKER." POETS OF THE

WAR OF LIBERATION .115

XIV. SUABIAN POETS. MODERN POETS. MODERN

NOVELISTS . . 125

LIST OF AUTHORITIES 137

CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY 141

INDEX OF AUTHORS WITH THEIR CHIEF WORKS 149



INTRODUCTION.

FREDERICK THE GREAT, although not very fond of the
German language, made the following prophecy in his
" Litterature Allemande " : " We shall have our classical
authors; our neighbours will learn German; and it may
happen that our language, polished and brought to perfec-
tion, will be extended, in favour of our good authors, from
one end of Europe to the other." This, no doubt, has
been fulfilled, especially since the Franco- German War ;
and on the twenty-fifth anniversary now legitimately
celebrated by all faithful to the Fatherland, I have the
honour of writing these lines as a short introduction to
a book on German literature, which, I fairly trust, will
contribute in no small degree to the further realisation of
the Great Frederick's hope.

Literature, in any case that literature with which we
shall have to deal, and the language in which it is pro-
duced, have nothing to do with political controversy ; they
do not speak to one nation alone, but to all, whatever theii
nationality, who strive after true happiness by improving
and enlarging their minds.

It is, therefore, easy to understand that, even in France,
the study of German has been greatly increased, and made
a significant part of liberal education.

The High Schools in Italy now devote a part of their
curriculum to German, in addition to French and English,



X INTRODUCTION.

whilst a still greater development has taken place in this
country.

Whereas, some thirty years ago, Italian was required or
preferred, it is now superseded by German as a branch of
English education. The Civil Service Commissioners have
made this language an optional, and in some cases an
obligatory subject.

Since July 1892, Papers on German literature have been
set at the examinations for Army candidates. For girls
and women this subject occupies an equally conspicuous
position in the local and other examinations.

Out of the host of books on German literature, a select
list has been added to this new publication, which list, it is
hoped, will be a guide to the advanced student in his
further and independent reading, but not one of them
could be recommended as a school-book. Those written
in German, however excellent they may be, are out of the
question, for the scanty time allotted to German in even
the best English schools is so much absorbed by the learn-
ing of the language itself, that, to save time, the literature
must be studied in English.

I entertain all respect for the works of F. Metcalfe
and I. T. Lublin, based on Yilmar and Kluge respectively,
but, in these books, sufficient justice has not been done to
the early and most modern periods. In the latter an index
is wanting altogether; and, besides, the original works
were written for educational purposes of the Fatherland,
and they, therefore, show too many German tendencies.
There is a book beyond praise, Mrs. F. C. Conybeare's
translation of the " Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur "
by Wilhelm Scherer, one of the greatest authorities on the
subject, and that this translation is edited by Professor
Max Miiller, is a sufficient guarantee of its excellence.
But, forming two volumes of 826 pages together, it would
not do as a school-book. The lives of Lessing, Heine,



INTRODUCTION. XI

Schiller, and Goethe could not be better read than in the
" German Classics," edited by Professor C. A. Buchheim,
Ph.D., the " doyen " of German Masters in England, who,
perhaps, has done more than anybody else for the propaga-
tion of German in the United Kingdom.

The private tutor, who is frequently but unjustly called
" crammer," always ready to provide for the most urgent
needs, has quickly compiled a few pamphlets on German
literature. They are, however, only lists of names and
dates, and unfit for real educational culture.

A book was needed corresponding to all the require-
ments of our days, and I have no hesitation in declaring
that Miss Phillips has provided one that was a distinct
" desideratum."

If the Cambridge student reading for the modern
languages tripos, or the teacher lecturing on the life of the
author just set for the Oxford and Cambridge Local Exami-
nations, should not find this course sufficient, it may at least,
in each of these cases, be useful as a preliminary to further
study of the subject. The candidate who is compelled to
commit to memory, just for the hard day of his examina-
tion, only a table of names and dates, will do better by a
cursory reading of a work of moderate size, underlining or
extracting what seems desirable.

The young scholar, who, by his own choice and I am
sure he (or she) is not a rara avis or by the regulations of
his scholastic authorities, is bound to study German litera-
ture thoroughly, has not hitherto been provided with a
book which he might steadily work through, as with his
Cornwell in Geography, or Morris in History.

At the request of the publishers, I have had the pleasure
of looking over the proof-sheets of this volume, and of letting
the author have any sugestions that might occur to me. It
would, of course, have been impossible to carry out this
task satisfactorily without taking great care and pains, and,



Xll INTRODUCTION.

but for the inexhaustible resources of the British Museum
at my disposal, I should scarcely have undertaken the
work.

" Prove all things ; hold fast that which is good." With
this thought my work was commenced, but the further I
got in the proof-sheets, the more pleasure they gave me.
Having had much experience in teaching the German
language and literature to English students, I became with
every page more and more convinced that this was the book
required. My efforts would be useful, and, therefore, the
hunt after a correct title, date, quotation, or note, was joy-
fully pursued. I wanted to assure myself that there was
nothing which I could not endorse, and to be able to
declare the book reliable in every respect.

Miss Phillips has very kindly accepted most of my sugges-
tions for her book, which treats of the German Literature
as far back as it can be traced at all, and down to the most
modern poets and even novelists. A long and studious
residence in G ermany has enabled the author to characterise
the Germans correctly, and to put forth seme new ideas
about their literature.

In certain controversial cases, of course, those who do not
profess to be specialists, have to take a side. Thus, con-
cerning the famous Lachmann-Zarncke controversy about
the Nibelungenlied, our author refers to and adopts the
opinion of Wilhelm Scherer, whose book could not be left
unread by any writer on German literature.

The reader of this book will find it an advantage that
it is not divided into chapters classified under the headings,
for instance, of novel or philosophy, prose or poetry. The
whole plan is chronological, and will form in the student's
mind a clear picture of the development which he can
easily attach to his history learned before.

Last, not least, it has to be mentioned that the book is
written without visible religious or political bias. Its



INTRODUCTION. Xlll

device, as that of a handbook of literature ought to be, is
" Truth," that idea of truth expressed in the three words
in commemoration of Herder as the aim he had successfully
striven after :

" Licht, Liebe, Leben."

It is a book that may be put in the hands of a student
of any age, creed, or aspiration.

ALOYS WEISS.

Koyal Military Academy, Woolwich,
September 2nd, 1895.



A HANDBOOK OF GERMAN
LITERATURE.

CHAPTER I.

THE ORIGIN OF GEEMAN LITERATURE.

IT was the Roman historian, Tacitus, who first fully de-
scribed t^j ancient Germanic tribes, or Teutons. His book,
" Germa / nia," written A.D. 98, if somewhat idealistic in
tone, is still substantially true to nature.

The Germans, he tells us, know no riches but their flocks
and herds, are simply clothed, and imperfectly armed,
hospitable in the extreme, and hold their women in high
honour. After telling the story of that barbarian who,
having lost his whole possessions at dice, set his freedom
on the last throw, lost, and voluntarily allowed himself to
be sold as a slave, Tacitus adds : " So great, even in a bad
cause, is the Germanic obstinacy; they themselves call it
constancy" and this has remained the Teutonic boast to our
own day.

More than three centuries earlier, Pytheas, a learned navi-
gator, sailing from Marseilles on a voyage of discovery, had
come upon the Teutons at the mouth of the Rhine. Caesar
fought with them, and wrote of their freedom from all
control, their lawlessness, and love of plunder. These bar-
barians were the people who in the pride of their strength

B



LITERATURE.

were to crush out the effete civilization of the Roman Empire,
who were to form mighty armies, mighty nations, and who
already possessed in themselves the germ of that poetic
power ont of which a great literature has grown. For
young nations bear in themselves the " epische Stoff "
they live the heroic poems which later generations write.

Mythology. In the earliest times all the Aryan or
Indo-Germanic tribes worshipped one god, the Aryan
Dyaus (Greek Zeus) ; later, different tribes preferred dif-
ferent gods. The Goths and Yandals, for instance, wor-
shipped two divine brothers (resembling Castor and
Pollux) ; the people inhabiting the shores of the North
Sea the ancestors of the invaders of Britain adored a
goddess, Nerthus ; round the Rhine, Wodan held supreme
sway, and he, at last, became the chief of all the gods of
the northern mythology, the husband of Freya, the sunny,
joy-bringing spirit of the spring.

Sagas. Five cycles of legends grew up during the
migration of the Germanic tribes, ihe " Volkel-wande-
rung," viz. :

1. That of the Ostrogoths (Ostgotische Sage), treating
firstlyof Ermannch (died 375 A.D.), and later of Dietrich
von Bern, known in history as Theodoric the Great.

2. That of {he Franks, or people of the Lower Rliine,
whose hero was Siegfried.

3. The Burgundfan Saga of the brothers King Gunther,
Gernot and Giselherr, witE their sister Kriemhilde, the
tough old hero Yolker, and the traitor Magen.

4. The Saga of the Huns, whose hero is King Etzel
Attila, "the Scourge of trod, the Destroyer of nations"



5. T-hft TjQngobardische Sage, treating of KingJRother,
King Ortnit, Hugdietrich and Wolfdietrich.

These sagas, handed down as traditions from a time
when the Germanic tribes were yet barbarians^ furnished



THE ORIGIN OF GERMAN LITERATURE.



material for poetic treatment at a later period when the
German epic was in its full glory.

Translation of" t1ie~Bible by Ulfilas. Christianity
wasjpreached among^ the Teutons at a time when" "Arianisni
was rife in the Church^ In the fourth century, the Arian
Bi8h5p~oj^the Western Goths, ^Vulfila or tllfilag "(died
381), made his translation of *.hp "Ril-ila. This is a most
valuable work for the study of the Gothic language. The
manuscript now preserved at Upsala is written in silver
characters on purple parchment, and may once have been
in the possession of some king of the Goths.

Wessobrunner Gebet. The oldest fragment of
pr>Af.io lif.Araf.rire is the so-called " Wessobrunner



Gebet," a Saxon poem, writtenin Bavaria in the beginning
of the ninth century. It opens with a description of chaos
before the creation of the world, and ends in a prayer.
Hence its name.

Characteristics of earliest Poetry and Language. Allitera-
tion was an essential element of old Germanic poetry, it
gavejaLot~melodybut strength. The search for forcible
expression isjjspecially visible. Unaccented syllables are
discarded as the language grows, the Old High German
" mannisko " becomes German " Mensch," and the same
process is everywhere noticeable. The melodious softness
of the Gothic tongue stiffens into the rough strength of the
German. The German language is rich in consonants, not
in vowels.

The Hildebrandslied. In the monastery of Fulda
( Hesse- Cassel) was discovered the " Hil3e^randslied,'
fraj



o^a-peein vviiUuii
.century by an unknown monk. The subject is the combat
nf Hilffebrand, the armour-bearer of Dietrich von Bern,
(i.e. Theodoric ofverona) who has been many years in
tbeHuns, with his son Hadubrand. The father
lubrandVparentage, and learning it, seeks pretexts



4 GERMAN LITERATURE.

tQ-asoid_tbe combat; the son, believing Hildebrand long
dead, insists upoiTTbe fight. They fight accordingly^and
the poem breaks otf leaving the~ issue nnknown.

The " Hildebrandslied " shows wonderful dramatic power,
is alliterative, and belongs to the Saga of the Ostrogoths.

^uspilli. Another early fragment by an nnknown author,
aj3jpargntly a layman, is "Muspilli," the " Woria^yire," a
Ascription of the destruction of the world set on fire by
the blood, dropping* |rom JjJlrjab, who conquers Antichrist
in fight, but is wounded by him. The poem describes the
pains of hell and the joys of heaven.

The Heliand and Krist. Two early sacred epics
are to be noticed in the ninth century, "Per Heliand,"
or unknown authorship, written about 830, picturing the
Recleemer as a warlike hero whose kingdom was em-
pnaticaliy >l of this world," and the " Krja^ or " JflvangeTien-
harnronleT" written jibout 870 byQtfried, a monk of Weissen-

half coiaquered^jeft its stamp on Christianity ; thelatter is
wholly Christian, and is the first work which bears~no
trace oF the old paganism. Otfried wrote in rhyme,
traces of which appear in the ninth century, and expressed
his belief that the angels help pious poets in their work.

The Ludivigslied, written probably by the monk Hucbald,
celebrated the victory ofT King Ludwig III. over the
Normans. I

Sacred_Literature in the Tenth Century. The monastery
of St. Gallen was the centre of monkishjlearning ; jacred
poem's in Latin were numerous. The two most famous of
.tfiLjmonTEs of StTGallen were Ekkehard. who died in 973
(known to us in modern times through Scheffel's masterly
novel, though in fictitious environment), and Notker Labeo
or " the Thick-lipped," who died in 1022. 'EklEeTiard'wrote,
in the beginning of the tenth century, " Walther von Aqui-
tanien, or Walther mit der starken Hand," in Latin hexa-



THE ORIGIN OF GERMAN LITERATURE.



meters indeed, but containing 1



thft most moving
S otkerTransTated



scenes ever produced by German poet.
from the Latin, and his translations belong to the transition
from Old High German to Middle High German, the
former lasting, according to Jakob Grimm, until the
beginning of the eleventh century.

The_Jj/rj; German Poetess was the nun,
Gandersheim (920-968). who wrote six comedies in Latin
prose on the model of Terence, several Legends, and a
Eulogy of Kaiser Otto I. Hyoawitha is remark&ble as
having IBeeil the first dramatist after the Rorn 3 ' 11 " She
ler subjects with some of tlie boldness of the
modern realist, but her pictures of vice aim at the teaching
of virtue.

Rudlieb. Inthe eleventh century was written, in Latin
hexameters, the_first " Bitterroman " romance of chivalry
the world had "seen, one of the beginnings of fiction,
entitled " Rudlieb " or " ^uodlieb." Only a fragment has
been preserved, showing on the part of the author, a
Bavarian monk, considerable skill in the arrangement of
his adventures, but, as is to be expected, little power of
character-drawing. The analysis of character, apart from
religious self-examination, is a modern product ; earlier
generations would have said with Carlyle : " Know," not
thyself, but "what thou canst do."



CHAPTER II.

ERSTE BLUTEZEIT OR FIRST GOLDEN AGE, 11501300.

THE great authority on German literature, Wilhelm Scherer,
considers that, in addition to the two most fertile epochs
i.e., from 1150 to 1300 and the Golden Age of Goethe and
his contemporaries another Bliitezeit, or Golden Age,
should be reckoned, namely, that earlier period when the
cycles of legends the matter which was to be used in
what is usually called the " erste Bliitezeit " were growing
up among the people. Poems there were undoubtedly, and
their loss does not destroy their influence. Charlemagne
collected the legends, but the century after him let them
sink into oblivion again. Still, an echo of them remained,
and, in what we may term the first articulate Golden Age
of German Literature, they made themselves heard once
more.

The causes leading to the especial brilliancy of the
hundred and fifty years from 1150-1300^ave~tTggn - con-
sidered fourfold.

1. l^heijLnipetus given to an enthusiasm partly religious,
but thoroughly poefical'rTypfcliu Omsadca.

2. JThe patronage extended to poetry by the Hohenstaufen
dynasty.

3. The spirit of chivalry in its full vigour.

4. Thejntroduction of models from France.

"may divide the poetry of the eriod" into three



ERSTE BLUTEZEIT OR FIRST GOLDEN AGE. 7

3^ That of the Church. The style was either epic or lyric.
The epic poemparir-feome in a heroic age, was thoroughly
objective. The lyric poem, purely subjective, took its place
after it. To these may be added didactic poetry, partaking,
as it always does, of the nature of both, partly objective,
partly subjective, and far behind the epic and lyric in
artistic value. The language was Middle High German.

Tine Transition Period, or beginning of the Golden Age is
marked by the following poems :

a eulogy of the saintliness "f A nTm j




written about 1180.

Pfaffe Lamprecht, towards the end of
the twelfth century.

These two I^faffen, or priests, are harbingers of the poetry
of chivalry which ~was soon to riourish. Their tendency
is to combat the old heathen sagas, and to bring French
influence to the front. Neither is strongly subjective in
the treatment of his theme.

Konrad imitated the " Chanson de Roland," and empha-
sized especially Roland's glory, as the Christian hero fight-
ing against the Moor. Religious enthusiasm was his
inspiration.

Lamprecht gave a rendering of the "Alexandre" of
Aubrey de Besan9on, revelled in oriental description, and
was less essentially an ecclesiastic in the treatment of his
subject.

Spielmannsgedichte, or Songs of the Wandering
Minstrels. Konig Rother is founded on the "Helden-
sage,"and anecdotes of the crusades are introduced into it.
History and mythology, home and foreign affairs are inter-
mingled, with little regard to probability and chronology.

Herzog Ernst is a banished knight, son of Otto the Great,
and Duke of Suabia. The poem is full of fabulous
adventures.



8 GERMAN LITERATURE.

Konig Orendel, the Ulysses of German literature, after un-
heard of vicissitudes, returns to find his wife faithful to him.

The satiric fable Reinhart Fuchs ("Reynard the Fox"),
by Heinrich der Glicheser, shows unprecedented German
humour.

These early poems mark the beginning of that wave of
poetic thought which culminated in the

Blutezeit des Volksepos. TTip grpat national epos of the .
German people, powerful as their language, richly imaginative
as their thought, Ts the epic^jpr jaan.es of epics 1 _knftw5jg^i&

Nibelurigenlied. The authorship is a disputed ques-
tion. Karl I^chmann, who has separated from it much that
detracted from the worth of the whole, and divided it into
twenty " Lieder," holds that it is the work of many hands
probably during the twenty years from 1190-1210. This
is the most credible hypothesis. The theory of one Nibelun-
gen poet is rendered almost untenable by the inequality of
the poem. Some passages of Homeric grandeur contrast
with the worse than mediocrity of others.

The poem divides itself naturally into two parts, the
centre-point of the first being the death by treachery of
Siegfried, the hero. The centre-point of the second part is
the vengeance of his wife, Kriemhilde.

In form it is composed of a stanza of four lines, rhyming
in pairs and marked by the cesura :

" Ez troumde Kriemhilte j in tugenden der sie pflac
wie sie einen valkan wilden | ziige manegen tac
den ir zwn arn erkrummen | daz sie daz muoste sehen :
ir enkunde in dirre werlde | nimmer leider sin geschehen."

(Lachmann, 1841.)

This first verse gives the keynote to the whole story of
the first part.

/ " Kriemhilde dreamt in her girlhood that she tamed a
falcon many a day. But two eagles tore it to pieces before
her eyes. Never had she felt so great a sorrow." The



ERSTE BLUTEZEIT OR FIRST GOLDEN AGE. 9

falcon was Siegfried, the eagles Gunther and Hagen. The
fulfilment of the omen it is the work of the poem to unfold.
Siegfried, a dauntless hero, strong and beautiful, in-
vulnerable because he has bathed in the blood of a dragon
which he has overcome, hears of the beauty and pride of


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