Originally published in 1938 and updated in 1962, this remains one of the few comprehensive studies of the German lyric in any language, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 1960s. By the use of detailed critical analysis the book interprets the essence of German lyric poetry and includes a study of the phases of German literature in the first half of the 20th Century.

Introduction: The Origins of the German Lyric. The German Minnesingers. The Mastersingers. 2. The German Folk-Song 3. Decline and Rebirth 4. Opitz. Further Developments of the Baroque Lyric. 5. Aufklärung and Pietism 6. Klopstock 7. Hölderlin 8. German Romanticism Proper and Further Developments 9. Austria, Biedermeier, Grillparzer 10. The Political Lyric Round About the Years 1830 and 1840-1848. The Munich Circle 11. Droste-Hülshoff. Eduard Mörike. The Swiss Lyric Poets. North German Lyric Poets 12. Changing Views. Nietzsche. Arno Holz. Impressionism and Neo-Romanticism. Expressionism. R. M. Rilke. Stefan George and the "Third Humanism". Counter-Currents and New Paths. Volkhafte Dichtung of the Present Day.