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.

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113 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 "...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
258 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"...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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595 views

In the “Neverending Story”, what judgement do Falkor and Atreyu make of the Childlike Empress?

When I recently read The Neverending Story to my children, they were puzzled by this passage, and I could offer no help: “Falkor,” Atreyu asked, “do you suppose the Childlike Empress cares what ...
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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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Why “Moon Child”?

In The Neverending Story, the main turning point is when Bastian gives the Childlike Empress her much-needed name, saves Fantastica, and enters into the story himself. This name is "Moon Child", or "...
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74 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, ...
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121 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
120 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 ...
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45 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 ...
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275 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, ...
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Why is Josef K.'s last name never revealed?

Throughout the novel, the main character's name is given only as "Josef K." In fact, as I recall, several characters even actually refer to him as Josef K. Why isn't he given a last name? Is this ...
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462 views

What are all the stories left unfinished in The Neverending Story?

A recurring phrase in Michael Ende's The Neverending Story, often seen when some character or characters drop out of the story, is ".. but that's another story and shall be told another time"...
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776 views

Where is Kafka's “The Trial” set?

The novel The Trial by Franz Kafka contains many deliberate omissions of information: for example, the main character's surname and the names of several other characters, the nature of his crime, and ...
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Why are letters hostile to the Childlike Empress?

When the Childlike Empress reaches the home of the Old Man of Wandering Mountain, she has to climb a ladder made out of letters, his message to her. Her wide white gown was in tatters, for it had ...
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31 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?
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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: ...
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50 views

In The Wall Jumper, what is the meaning of the very last line about walls still standing?

In The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider the very last line is: The city outside, with its fire walls, garden walls, border walls - those walls will still be standing when no one is left to move ...
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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 ...
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1answer
239 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 general it is ...
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1answer
737 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 ...
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422 views

What is the Neverending Story's moral about power?

In Michael Ende's brilliant novel The Neverending Story, the world of Fantastica is ruled by the Childlike Empress, a mysterious ruler who is given a different name each time a new human comes to her ...
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1answer
665 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?
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416 views

What's the significance of Faust's meeting being on Easter Day?

In Goethe's Faust, the eponymous (anti?)hero meets the demon Mephistopheles on what seems to be Easter Sunday, during local celebrations of Easter. Given the religious themes in the story, this surely ...
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1answer
150 views

Is it possible that Bastian's journey to Fantastica was purely metaphysical?

The first half of The Neverending Story is about Bastian reading a fantasy story about Atreyu's adventures in Fantastica. The second half is about Bastian's own adventures in Fantastica, a world which ...
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1answer
1k views

When and why did the Brothers Grimm start collecting fairy tales?

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are well known for authoring multiple collections of traditional folk tales in the late 18th/early 19th century. Their first major collection of stories was published in 1812. ...
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109 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 ...
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83 views

In which year was Frühlingsbotschaft by Heinrich Heine published?

I have been searching the entire internet (or mostly) and can't find when Frühlingsbotschaft by Heinrich Heine was first published. I double-checked and it is not part of his collections Gedichte, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
124 views

How long did accounts of the Sängerkrieg last as purely oral literature?

The Sängerkrieg, or contest of minstrels, was an event which (supposedly) took place at Wartburg Castle in Germany in the early 13th century. Since its veracity is disputed, I assume there weren't any ...
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39 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 ...
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1answer
278 views

Who or what is Cassiopeia?

In Michael Ende's Momo, the tortoise Cassiopeia seems to be something of a mystery. Even Professor Hora is easier to grasp: he appears to be a sort of personification of time itself, sending everyone'...
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1answer
1k views

Why didn't Artax just wait for Atreyu outside the Swamp of Sadness?

Artax was evidently profoundly affected by the Swamp of Sadness, eventually sinking into a deep depression. However, the Swamp had no effect whatever on Atreyu, which Artax thought was likely due to ...
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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 ...
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48 views

Did Stefan Zweig tell this anecdote in The World of Yesterday"?

Many years ago I read The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. I believe that in this book there was the following, real-life story: Shortly before the outbreak of World War II several intellectuals, ...
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1answer
185 views

Why do the names of the first two characters introduced in “The Neverending Story” start with B and C?

I only recently started the book, so I'm hoping that I'm not missing something that's made clear in the book later, but the first character introduced in the book is named Bastian Balthazar Bux (whose ...
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163 views

Does the title of “The Neverending Story” have a double meaning?

I only recently started the book, so forgive me if I'm missing something that's made obvious later in the book, but does the title of The Neverending Story have a double meaning? Bastian assumes when ...
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228 views

Where is Momo set?

Every time I start to read the opening paragraphs of Michael Ende's Momo, I think for a moment "wait, is this set thousands of years ago and I forgot?" before realising those paragraphs are only ...
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101 views

What methods have been used to distinguish the text between the two strands of The Neverending Story?

I've owned two copies of Michael Ende's The Neverending Story in my life - both English translations, one paperback with a blue cover, one hardback with a red cover inside the dustcover. Both of them ...
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2k views

Where did Rilke say or write “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things”?

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things. This quote is widely attributed to the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, but I cannot find the source. Where did he say or write ...
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1answer
231 views

Why is there German in the English version of All Quiet on the Western Front?

In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul remarks Then I become quiet. "Pardon me, Herr Doctor, I will keep still but do not chloroform me." After the doctor threatens to chloroform him when he ...
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1answer
211 views

What does “Wireless-men” mean?

In All Quiet on the Western Front, the narrator says, In the meantime we receive visitors, a couple of wireless-men, who are generously invited to the feed. They sit in the living-room where there ...
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The mother in C. Hein's play 'Lasalle fragt Herrn Herbert nach Sonja'

Lassalle fragt Herbert nach Sonja. Die Szene ein Salon is a three-act play by the German author Christoph Hein. The play was first performed in 1980 in East Germany and criticizes Marxism. In the ...
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1answer
165 views

In which year was Frühling by Hermann Hesse published?

I have been searching the entire internet (or mostly) and can't find when Frühling by Hermann Hesse was first published. I was able to find that in 1948, Richard Strauss wrote the album Four Last ...
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1answer
2k views

Which German book was Poe referring to?

The opening line of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Man of the Crowd" is as follows. It was well said of a certain German book that "er lasst sich nicht lesen"- it does not permit itself to be ...