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Edinburgh German Yearbook 6


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Established, commissioned, and edited by the Department of German at the University of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh German Yearbook is the only peer-reviewed German Studies publication that each year invites scholarly contributions on a single topic of current challenge to the field. Focusing on "Sadness and Melancholy in German-language Literature and Culture," volume 6 investigates the often subversive function and meaning of sadness and melancholy in German-language literature and culture from the seventeenth century to the present where, arguably, it has fallen from the heights of melancholy genius and artistic creativity of earlier epochs to become the embarrassing other of a Western civilization that prizes happiness as the mark of successful modern living. Interrogating the distinction between sadness as an anthropological constant and melancholy as a shifting cultural discourse, the contributions explore how different authors use established literary and cultural topoi from melancholy discourses to comment on topics as diverse as war, religion, gender inequality, and modernity. As well as essays on canonical figures including Goethe and Thomas Mann, the volume features studies of sadness in lesser-known writers such as Betty Paoli and Julia Schoch.

Contributors: Per Brandt, Peter Damrau, Kristian Donko, Svenja Frank, Jens Hobus, Stephen Joy, Johannes D. Kaminski, Franziska Meyer, Richard Millington, Karin S. Wozonig.

Mary Cosgrove is Reader in German at the University of Edinburgh. Anna Richards is Lecturer in German at Birkbeck College, University of London.


This rich collection makes a strong case for the continuing relevance of literature as a space that allows us to project and explore emotional states, but also as a source of Identifizierungsangebote for our own (sad?) lives. Readers of a less than sanguine disposition may want to approach it with caution, and remain mindful of Goethe's exhortation: "Gedenke zu leben!" MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW


First Published: 03 Dec 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9781571135285
Pages: 198
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Camden House
BIC Class: DSB

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction: Sadness and Melancholy in German-Language Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present: An Overview
  • 2  Tears That Make the Heart Shine? "Godly Sadness" in Pietism
  • 3  Produktive Negativität: Traurigkeit als Möglichkeitssinn um 1800
  • 4  Die Schwester Lenaus? Betty Paoli und der Weltschmerz
  • 5  "Immer wieder kehrst du, Melancholie": Plotting Georg Trakl's Poetic Sadness
  • 6  Die Lust am Unendlichen: Melancholie und Ironie bei Robert Walser
  • 7  Melancholy Echo and the Case of Serenus Zeitblom
  • 8  Melancholy in Wilhelm Genazino's Novels and Its Construction as Other
  • 9  The Past is Another Country and the Country Is Another Past: Sadness in East German Texts by Jakob Hein and Julia Schoch

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