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The Uni library has Poetry For Dummies, and of course the random page I opened had to be Romanticism, and that was where I finally got it confirmed that literary periods don't work the same way in English as they do in the Teutonic sphere of influence - where you in Norway will talk of a span of time including Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism and Neo-Romanticism, in Britain there is VICTORIAN.

From this fine book, I now know that in the English (possibly just British?) understanding of Romanticism, the most important German figures are Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin and Heine. After some 5-6 classes on ca. the corresponding period in Germany, I think I'm allowed to say that Heine is the only one of those four who is counted as romantic in German. The lesson learned is that literary history is a lot more political here than there, but I just can't get over how someone so obviously not romantic in one tradition can be celebrated as the man initiating Romanticism in another one.

At least I finally know why I always had troubles with recognising British romantic poetry as what it claimed to be.



Jun. 1st, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I just finished the Romantic opinion of the Renaissance in an historiography book about the Renaissance (obviously) and only Goethe is mentionned. But they made of difference between the Durm and Strang movement and the Romantic one.
Ha, Heine, we can't escape him in German class. He trolls my head from time to time.
Jun. 1st, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Probably, it's that the rest of the world defines Romanticism wider than German (and German-influenced) scholars, because German Romanticism doesn't exist until a group of younger writers turned away from the ideals of Goethe and Schiller. Funny that they'd make the distinction to S&D, though, because I always thought it appeared like a kind of proto-Romanticism.

Heine belongs on any German curriculum and I find it gravely distressing that the only poem students ever read is Lorelei.