Genesis: The Making of Literary Works from Homer to Christa Wolf [Hardback]

T.J. Reed(Author)

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ISBN: 9781640140820 | Published by: Camden House | Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture | Volume: 213 | Year of Publication: 2020 | 314p, H9 x W6,
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Genesis

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This monumental study seeks the roots of great literary works and the processes by which they arose. It first illuminates the process from idea and inspiration through intention, formulation, revision (and sometimes frustration) to publication and reception. The textual studies that follow range from single poems to epic and dramatic works, from the genesis of new genres to that of a whole career. T. J. Reed sets the scene by going back to Homer's epics and the Bible, refreshing familiar scholarly material with new insights. Two early modern chapters then treat Montaigne, the founder of a new self-confidence, and Shakespeare, the beginner shaped by and shaping history. In the book's second half Reed concentrates on his specialty, modern German literature: Goethe, Büchner, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Brecht, Celan, and Christa Wolf. A sense of the origins of literary meaning in each case is a firm foundation for understanding, staying close to the quick of human communication. Against the depersonalized, skeptical, theory-laden readings of literature that have been dominant in recent decades, this study harks back to what we still call the humanities.

T. J. REED is Taylor Professor of German Emeritus at Oxford University.

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
PART 1: ANTIQUITY
CHAPTER 1: Homer's Audiences: Shaping the Iliad
CHAPTER 2: Fourfold Genesis: The Bible and Authority
PART 2: EARLY MODERN
CHAPTER 3: An Allphabet of Experience: Montaigne
CHAPTER 4: Beginner's Luck: Shakespeare's History Cycles
PART 3: Goethe
CHAPTER 5: Cross-Purposes: Goethe's Faust
CHAPTER 6: Occasions: Goethe's Lyrical Poetry
CHAPTER 7: Live and Learn: Goethe's Prose Fiction
PART 4: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century German Literature
CHAPTER 8: Writing on the Run: Georg Büchner's Revolutions
CHAPTER 9: "The best-laid schemes . . . ": Thomas Mann's Unplanned Career
CHAPTER 10: Description of a Struggle: Kafka's Half-Escape
CHAPTER 11: Atomic Beginnings: Brecht, Galileo, and After
CHAPTER 12: Knowing and Partly Knowing: Paul Celan's Mission
CHAPTER 13: Christa Wolf: "Better late than . . ."?
Bibliography
Index

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