German Literature

German Literature
  • German authors
  • Literature in the Middle Ages
  • 16th, 17th and 18th century literature
  • Enlightenment literature
  • Romantic literature
  • Naturalist and Expressionist literature
  • 20th century literature
  • German war and post-war literature
  • Contemporary literature

The 20th Century

Among the novelists of the 20th Century we find names such as Hauptmann, Schnitzler, Robert Musil or Hermann Broch, but some of the most esteemed are without a doubt, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Franz Kafka.

In his first novel Buddenbrooks (1901), Thomas Mann expressed a theme that would tend to repeat itself in later works: the conflict between the prosperous bourgeoisie as compared to the perceptive and often sickly artist. Such conflicts, together with the difficulties of a creative personality, form the main theme apparent in some of Mann's most important novels and writings, such as The Magic Mountain, Joseph and His Brothers and Doctor Faustus. Hesse's writings express a sense of spiritual loneliness, often eased by the wisdom and mysticism of the Far Eastern philosophy. Some of his most prominent works include Demian, Steppenwolf and Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game).

Czech novelist Franz Kafka has also had enormous influence on the contemporary novel. His writings The Trial, The Castle and America , as well as his numerous short stories, offer a compelling run-down of a meaningless and disarticulated world, trapped in lack of faith and no sense of direction.

With regard to modern poetry, Nietzsche's influence can still be perceived in the poems and prose of Gottfried Benn, Hugo von Hofmannstahl, Stefan George and Rainer Maria Rilke.