THE ERA OF GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM by Paul -- Ed. Raabe

THE ERA OF GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the kind of fine scholarship for which Germans cannot be matched -- so painstakingly organized and excruciatingly definitive that non-specialists might wonder ""who cares?"" Professor Raabe, who has also published an 18-volume index of Expressionist writing, has collected from hither and yon excerpted memoirs of key figures in poetry, publishing, theater and painting for a brilliant recreation of the atmosphere of the 1910-25 epoch in Berlin, Prague, Munich, Zurich/ Geneva. Short personal essays describe liaisons formed in bohemian cafes and clubs or through the influential little journals, the ecstatic militancy and wild iconoclasm of the movement, the coming of war (""seldom has a generation bled to death so quickly""), the genesis of Dadaism and Futurism, and finally ""the great eclipse which came over our people in 1933."" Many of the figures in this constellation are long forgotten, and rightly so according to the late Kurt Wolff who writes that ""Expressionist features are never applicable to the really great creative writers,"" i.e. Kafka, Heym, Werfel, Heinrich Mann, Karl Kraus -- all of whom Wolff is proud to have published. Genius is provident but the Expressionist war cry epatez le bourgeois/ marked the death of naturalism and the ascendancy of the avant garde in 20th century art. Raabe's book pays tribute to the minor and supportive voices in the chorus of an influential and energetic, if tragically short-lived, movement.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1974
Publisher: Overlook--dist. by Viking