Questions tagged [german-literature]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the German language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Germany or elsewhere.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Nietzsche: It is improbable that you are not mistaken: double negative

In Beyond Good and Evil, chapter 1, #16, Nietzsche is criticizing idealism, and he says: He who ventures to answer these metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, ...
5
votes
0answers
127 views

What is the significance of the name Bastian Balthazar Bux?

Apart from being triply alliterative (BBB), what is the significance of the name Bastian Balathazar Bux (or Bastian Balthasar Bux in the German original), the protagonist of The Neverending Story? ...
2
votes
0answers
33 views

In Effi Briest, what is the meaning and significance of a “wide field”?

I noticed a similar phrase recurring twice in the conversation between Effi's parents in Chapter V of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online: Miss Hulda had clinked her glass too ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

What was Briest implying with his “Very true, very true”?

In Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, an exchange between Effi and her mother in Chapter IV seems to betray Effi's lack of love for her fiance Innstetten. Later, in Chapter V, ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the “torch dance” and “garter dance”, in 19th-century Germany?

From Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I'm reading online, during the wedding of Effi and Innstetten in Chapter V: The dancing had continued till three o'clock, with the effect that Briest, who ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

How does Resa becoming a swift reflect on her character in “Inkdeath”?

In Inkdeath, the third book in the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, Resa uses seeds that turn the user into an animal. In Resa's case, she turns into a swift: It was easy to fly, so easy. The ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the “Isle of the Blessed” and why should a girl see it before marriage?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've recently started reading online, Effi and her mother are spending some days in Berlin before her marriage, accompanied by her cousin ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

What is the significance of “Come, Effi”?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, there seems to be some kind of foreshadowing when Effi's future husband Baron von Innstetten is talking with (or ...
7
votes
2answers
132 views

What is known about the last book Theodor Fontane worked on?

This question started when I noticed a curious aside in Fontane's Wikipedia article: Fontane was plagued by health problems during his last years but continued to work until a few hours before his ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

What's the significance of the name “Johnnie” in “The Bridge by the Tay”?

There's only one named character in this translation of Fontane's "Die Brück’ am Tay" ("The Bridge by the Tay"): "Johnnie". Johnnie shows up twice in the poem: Now, ...
5
votes
1answer
67 views

Why does “The Tragedy of Afghanistan” suddenly switch to second-person in the second-to-last verse?

Here's the second-to-last verse from a translation of Fontane's "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" ("The Tragedy of Afghanistan"): They played all night and the following day, They ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to “wear the cross”?

In the first chapter of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, we are introduced to the character of Baron Geert von Innstetten as follows (emphasis mine): "Yes, ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke?

In Chapter 1 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've just started reading online, two friends of Effi are introduced as follows: Two of the young girls, plump little creatures, whose ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

What is the central summary of “Erlkönig”?

I was listening to Franz Schubert’s musical concert of "Erlkönig", and the music was perfect. The lyrics were quite plain and simple, but why is it so famous? I read the poem, heard Schubert ...
4
votes
3answers
31 views

What is meant by “present tense whatever” here, exactly?

This is excerpted from the forewords of the English translation by John E. Woods of The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg in German) by Thomas Mann: It takes place, or, to avoid any present tense ...
5
votes
1answer
52 views

What does this quatrain of Goethe's (“Gesang der Geister über den Wassern”) mean?

What does this quatrain of Goethe's ("Gesang der Geister über den Wassern") mean? Seele des Menschen Wie gleichst du dem Wasser Schicksal des Menschen Wie gleichst du dem Wind Translation: ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Why did Fontane choose to write “The Tragedy of Afghanistan”?

Theodor Fontane, a German poet, wrote "Das Trauerspiel von Afghanistan" (translated here as "The Tragedy of Afghanistan") in 1847. It's about the aftermath of a massacre suffered ...
6
votes
0answers
62 views

Was Fontane's Tay Bridge poem compared to McGonagall's at the time?

The Tay Bridge Disaster is one of the most famous bridge collapses. It inspired a universally reviled (yet nevertheless wildly (in)famous) poem from William McGonagall, "The Tay Bridge Disaster&...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Identify a Faust quote about being careful when calling upon bad spirits

As a comment on a disaster, someone quoted orally in German from Faust. They explained the quote as: one should be careful with calling upon bad spirits. The German verb "mahnen" was used. ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

German book where a hiring manager hires his former bully

I am trying to find a German book from which I read an excerpt when I was in high school studying German (between 1997 and 1999). In that book a manager at a company is reviewing applications for an ...
22
votes
1answer
5k views

Why would one of Germany's leading publishers publish a novel by Jewish writer Stefan Zweig in 1939?

I am reading the Penguin Edition of Impatience of the Heart by Stefan Zweig - also known as Beware of Pity in other translations. The reverse of the title page states that the book was first published ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

What is it time for in Paul Celan's “Corona”?

From Paul Celan's poem "Corona", available e.g. here in both the original German and an English translation: It is time that the stone took the trouble to bloom That an unrest’s heart ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Does the original German version of Fontane's Tay Bridge poem contain the same literary references?

In this English translation of Theodor Fontane's poem "Die Brücke am Tay" (here translated as "The Bridge by the Tay", elsewhere also as "The Tay Bridge"), I noticed a ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What did Goethe mean by “each situation, each moment, is of infinite worth”?

Each situation, each moment, is of infinite worth; for each represents a whole eternity. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I lit upon this on p. 395 of National Geographic Stunning Photographs. I can't ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

What does Rainer Maria Rilke mean by “the small things hardly noticeable”?

I lit upon this quote on p. 108 in National Geographic's photo book Sublime Nature. Goodreads has it. “If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

What arguments have scholars used to characterise Kafka's The Metamorphosis as magical realism?

In comments below the question What style are Kafka's novels?, Peter Shor said, Kafka has been characterized as "magical realism". On the other hand, there are lots of people who disagree ...
-2
votes
2answers
128 views

Original Grimms' fairy tales

The problem with Fairy Tales is that with the passage of time they were changed in order to become more politically correct. Which version of the Grimms' fairy tales was least affected by "...
-1
votes
0answers
51 views

What was Kafka's point in The Metamorphosis'?

When Gregor Samsa awakens to find himself transformed into some type of beetle or roach-like creature, he gives little thought to whys and wherefores but just seems to attempt to deal with his ...
2
votes
1answer
272 views

What does “Fills now my cup” mean?

In Rilke's poem "Pietà", there is this sentence: Fills now my cup, and past thought is my fulness thereof. I harden as a stone sets hard at its heart. What does "Fills now my cup"...
3
votes
0answers
28 views

When and how was the manuscript of Fratricide Punished / Der bestrafte Brudermord lost?

Yesterday, I asked a question about the relationship between the Ur-Hamlet and Fratricide Punished / Der bestrafte Brudermord. The Wikipedia page about Fratricide Punished says that the play was first ...
3
votes
0answers
59 views

Brecht's Life of Galileo and the need for hero

Regarding Brecht's play The life of Galileo. There is a part where Andrea says 'unhappy the land that has no heroes' and Galileo says 'No, unhappy the land that needs heroes' Can you make reference to ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

Why is Georg Büchner considered such an important figure in German literature?

Georg Büchner was recently proposed as a topic challenge for Lit.SE, and both that proposal and his Wikipedia page concur that he is considered an important figure in the history of German literature, ...
7
votes
1answer
153 views

If I find a book by Nietzsche, how do I know if it's Friedrich's original work, and not work that was edited by his nazi sister, Elisabeth?

Background I've been getting into philosophy lately, and I've been wanting to read some of Nietzsche's work. But history has it that after his mental decline, and subsequent death, his sister became ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Where are the Rosicrucian Original Texts in Latin or German (online or offline)?

Looking here, there are 3 or 4 texts which I can only find English translations of online. Do the original German or Latin ones exist anywhere online or off? Fama Fraternitatis Confessio ...
7
votes
1answer
213 views

Secondary literature on “The Warden of the Tomb”

The Warden of the Tomb is an expressionist play fragment by Kafka. Although incomplete, possibly extremely so, it's still decently long - about fourteen pages. Sadly (to me at least), as far as I can ...
1
vote
0answers
68 views

What is the inner meaning of “A Common Confusion”?

"A Common Confusion" is a very short story by Franz Kafka, only three paragraphs long with an English translation available in full online: A common experience, resulting in a common ...
6
votes
4answers
730 views

What well known phrase from “Götz von Berlichingen” is alluded to in All Quiet in the Western Front?

In Chapter 10 of All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul and his comrades are goofing around by pretending to give orders to each other. "Tjaden!" - "What?" - "Stand at ease, Tjaden; and what's more, ...
4
votes
0answers
32 views

Are all editions of “Joseph und seine Brüder” (by Thomas Mann) the same?

There are several editions of Joseph and his brothers (original German Joseph und seine Brüder). Do all of them contain the same text? Or did Thomas Mann make some "adjustments" for some publishers?
6
votes
0answers
89 views

Meaning of the slash (“/”) in dialog in Ernst Toller's “Die Wandlung”

I have to translate German playwright Ernst Toller's drama Die Wandlung. In this drama, Toller uses slashes in the dialogues of some characters to separate the sentences, like this: KRIEGSTOD: ...
3
votes
0answers
75 views

What was Faust's purpose?

It seems like at the end of Goethe's Faust II, he has realized what he should do. Shortly before that, he kills humans on his quest to help humanity. So what exactly is his new purpose, except that he ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Mann's introduction to The Magic Mountain?

I remember that the edition of The Magic Mountain I read around 7 or 8 years ago contained an introduction that was written by Mann and inspired by a lecture he gave about his book. I remember it ...
4
votes
0answers
139 views

Why is Paul so torn when he stabs the French soldier?

In All Quiet in the Western Front, the protagonist and narrator, Paul Bäumer, hides in a shell hole between the trenches and is forced to kill a French soldier that stumbles in beside him during an ...
3
votes
1answer
374 views

Where did the Grimm brothers' story “The Shepherd Boy” originate?

"The Shepherd Boy" is a very short story by the Brothers Grimm which recently found fame in the world of popular sci-fi by being referenced prominently in an episode of Doctor Who. In ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the significance of “half past two” in Wolfgang Borchert's The Clock and The Bread?

In both The Clock and The Bread by Wolfgang Borchert there is a mention of the events happening at "half past two" in the morning. I have been unable to find a historical event of World War Two that ...
6
votes
0answers
56 views

How much of Fantastica remains the same between iterations?

Each time a human comes to Fantastica, the whole world is essentially 'rebooted'. We see this in chapter 13, where Bastian and the Childlike Empress start off in total empty nothingness, before he ...
4
votes
0answers
42 views

How thoroughly was “Look Who's Back” researched?

The novel Look Who's Back, about the experiences of Adolf Hitler reawaking in 2011 Germany, necessarily contains a certain amount of detail - even if only in Hitler's internal monologue - about the ...
4
votes
1answer
912 views

Rilke's quotation by Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison likes to quote Rilke's "Beware, o wanderer, the road is walking too." Does anybody know where it comes from?
5
votes
1answer
125 views

Did Heine write “wo die Blumen sprießen” or “wo die Veilchen sprießen” in Frühlingsbotschaft?

Kling' hinaus bis an das Haus, wo die Veilchen sprießen: Wenn du eine Rose schaust, sag', ich lass sie grüßen. Is the original text "Veilchen spriessen" or "Blumen spriessen"? I have seen both ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

How can the inscription on AURYN be interpreted?

In The Neverending Story, AURYN, the medallion of the Childlike Empress, bears the following inscription (at least while Bastian is carrying it - it's never 100% confirmed that it had the same writing ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

Why did Morla's eyes have a paralyzing effect on Atreyu?

The Swamp of Sadness apparently had no effect on Atreyu, which Artax thought was likely due to him wearing the Amulet. That being the case, he's later obliged to consciously resist the paralyzing ...