chapter  Chapter Nine
21 Pages

Poetic Realism

WithS. S. Prawer

The historian of literature who takes up a convenient term coined by Otto Ludwig and designates a number of nineteenth-century authors as ‘poetic realists’, must make it clear that he refers neither to a ‘school’ of writers (like, for example the older Romantics) nor even to as homogeneous a group as Jungdeutschland. The term conveniently describes a number of very different writers, living in different provinces of Germany and Switzerland around the middle of the nineteenth century. These were poets who had learnt a great deal from Romantic poetry, but rejected its outré subjectivism, its exotic avenues of escape, and the paucity of its themes: O Mondscheinglanz und Lindenglanz, um aus der Haut zu fahren Wie seid ihr, Dichter und Gesel’n, verblichen mit den Jahren! (th. mommsen)