01 June 2005

Some of the best books about German poetry

Most of the scholarly work on poetry is published either as journal articles or as single chapters of edited books which have a non-poetry focus. However, the volumes below are full-length studies devoted to poetry.

Hutchinson, Peter, ed. Landmarks in German Poetry. Lang, 2000.
[examines a selection of famous, single poems] Link

Prawer, Siegbert. Heine: Buch der Lieder. Arnold, 1960. [old and small but still the best introduction to Heine]

Ryan, Judith. Rilke, Modernism and Poetic Tradition. CUP, 1999.
[does what the title says]

Cosentino, Christine. Tierbilder in der Lyrik des Expressionismus. Bouvier, 1972.
[unusual angle]

Arnold, Heinz Ludwig, ed. Lyrik des 20. Jahrhunderts. Text & Kritik, 1999.
[not as comprehensive as the title promises but some interesting essays]

Kuhn, Tom, and Karen Leeder, eds. Empedocles' Shoe: Essays on Brecht's Poetry. Methuen, 2002.
[a mix of essays, some on single poems] Link

Wenzel White, Erdmute. The Magic Bishop: Hugo Ball, Dada Poet. Camden House, 1998. [interesting and original] Link

Bridgwater, Patrick. The German Poets of the First World War. London, 1985. [good topic, nicely done]

Bower, Kathrin M. Ethics and Remembrance in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs and Rose Ausländer. Camden House, 2000.
[important poets] Link

Divers, Gregory. The Image and Influence of America in German Poetry since 1945. Camden House, 2002. [interesting concept] Link

Berendse, Gerrit-Jan. Die sächsische Dichterschule: Lyrik in der DDR in den sechziger und siebziger Jahre. Lang, 1990. [introduces a generation]

Leeder, Karen. Breaking Boundaries: A New Generation of Poets in the GDR. OUP, 1996.
[definitive on 1980s poetry] Link

I am still waiting to read a really good book on Celan’s poetry, so none is listed here.

See also The Poet's Role