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RECENT GERMAN LITERATURE: ‘Romantic’ or ‘romantic’?

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Chapter Summary

Scholars routinely distinguish between ‘historical’ and ‘typological’ romanticism, but only in Germany has the distinction continued to arouse strong feelings among those, like the dramatist Peter Hacks and the philosopher-critic Rüdiger Safranski, who, arguing that historical Romanticism belongs to the past, detect ‘romantic’ tendencies in contemporary German culture. Yet the conspicuous turn to precisely that historical-Romantic past in their fictions by writers ranging from Christa Wolf to Günter Grass, from Henning Boëtius to Kai Meyer, from Gisela Kraft to Brigitte Struzyk — for reasons both personal and social, for agendas both liberal and conservative but distinctly non-‘romantic’ — suggest that historical Romanticism is still alive and well today in the minds and imagination of many.



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