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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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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7 votes
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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&...
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6 votes
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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? ...
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6 votes
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71 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 ...
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6 votes
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How significant is Schopenhauer's philosophy in Buddenbrooks?

In Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks, in part 10, Thomas Buddenbrook finds himself reading a treatise on philosophy, which elevates him above his day to day care to a level where he can see the pettiness of ...
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4 votes
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36 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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4 votes
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156 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 ...
4 votes
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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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4 votes
1 answer
169 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, ...
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3 votes
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What is the purpose of the motif of the Chinaman in Fontane's novel Effi Briest?

One of the recurring elements or motifs in Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest is that of the Chinaman. The Chinaman is a source of fear for Effi, something like a phantom. References to him are ...
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3 votes
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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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3 votes
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75 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 ...
3 votes
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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 ...
3 votes
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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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3 votes
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75 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 ...
3 votes
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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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2 votes
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When was any of Fontane's work first included in literary anthologies for use in schools?

Theodor Fontane is now regarded as the most important German-language novelist of the second half of the nineteenth century. His work is now often required reading (German: "Pflichtlektüre") ...
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2 votes
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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, ...
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2 votes
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53 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, ...
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2 votes
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70 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 ...
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1 vote
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Explain a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka

Can anyone explain the following quote from the short story "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka: First, one must realize that at that time certain achievements were brought to fruition ...
1 vote
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What is the name of German-language horror or crime pulp novel series from late 80s/early 90s?

Back in the very early 90s, my father worked in Germany. The previous tenant in his apartment left some 80s/early-90s 7" vinyls, floppy discs and some horror/crime stich-bound short novels. ...
1 vote
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Does Georg Heym's poem Louis Capet betray a specific political orientation?

The German poet Georg Heym was an important representative of expressionism. Wikipedia tells us that he was a member of the short-lived society or club Der Neue Club: Other members of this Club ...
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1 vote
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Why did Fontane spend almost a decade writing literary or historical accounts of Prussian wars?

Theodor Fontane is today best remembered as a novelist (and also as a poet). However, all his novels were written in the last two decades of his life. A list of publications by Fontane published by ...
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1 vote
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42 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 ...
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1 vote
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156 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 ...
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Online versions "Hag-All, All-Hag"

The wikipedia page of Rudolf Gorsleben mentions him as the contributor of three periodicals. Specifically I am interested in Hag-All, All-Hag. Zeitschrift für arische Freiheit, Edda-Gesellschaft, 1930 ...