Best German Literature in 2022

The Genres of German Literature

If you are considering studying German Literature, you should know the genres that make up this fascinating language. You can choose to read the works of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Thomas Mann, or Stefan Zweig, as well as work by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, Patric Suskind, and others. The main categories of German Literature include Drama, Poetry, Short stories, and Novels. If you are unsure of the genres, check out our site for more information.


The roots of drama in German literature go back to the Renaissance. The Protestant Reformation influenced drama in Germany, and dramatic performances became civic guilds. Nuremberg master-singers and writers soon started to develop the art of drama. During the baroque period, scholars of the German Renaissance eagerly dramatized biblical narratives, largely as agents of the Reformation. They adapted scholastic drama to the needs of the age, and the resulting plays were often acclaimed as some of the most innovative works of German literature.

The earliest dramatic performances were written during the Middle Ages, and many genres emerged. Easter plays focused on Christ's Crucifixion, while Passion plays dealt with creation, salvation history, and martyrdom. The genre is further divided into regional "families," with Theuerdank (1517) occupying a unique position in secular German literature. Several eminent scholars have studied these plays for their historical and literary value.

Lessing's contemporaries, however, did not produce many works of permanent dramatic literature. A few of his colleagues produced pastoral playwrights, including F. G. Klopstock. A few others specialized in religious drama, such as J. W. L. Gleim, and G. K. Pfeffel, also produced works of drama. Lessing, however, opted for a more traditional route, and began his Shakespeare translation in 1762. During the same period, Eschenburg finished his translation. His work provided the text for many of Lessing's criticisms.


A fascinating anthology of German poetry by Michael Hofmann features the best translations from many of the country's greatest poets. The anthology is easy to understand and never dull, exploring the role of poetry in sociopolitical reality and the power of language to shape and reflect the experience of others. It is an excellent choice for students of modern German, particularly those who are still discovering the language. Some of the poems in the collection are deeply moving, while others are more accessible and approachable.

The history of German literature is unique in that its early texts reflect conservative religious reactions to mainstream culture. Although the literary culture of Germany has a rich and diverse past, three distinct periods of literary greatness have emerged: the high middle ages, the late 18th century and the beginning of the twentieth century. All three periods are marked by significant literary works. However, there are a few key works in German literature that are particularly important today. In the nineteenth century, satirical poetry developed and influenced literature in this country.

The late German romantic movement emphasized the tension between the everyday world and the projections of creative genius. Friedrich Schiller and Heinrich Heine, for example, criticized the early romantic tendency to look back to the medieval past to find inspiration. Likewise, many works from the high medieval period include poems in a heroic epic style. The poets who survived the war and the exile are also among the most well-known examples of German poetry. But in addition to their heroic works, there are other important forms of poetry written by German poets.

Short stories

The form of short stories has seen a recent revival in German literature, as they have become an important vehicle for popular writing and literary experimentation. This boom has continued into the twenty-first century, and authors such as Judith Hermann and Peter Stamm have left a significant mark on German language literature. Though there is relatively little critical study of the form, there are many notable examples of short stories written in German. Listed below are examples of short stories in German literature.

Short stories in German literature can be very effective in learning the language. Because short stories are typically literary texts, they have a greater impact on learners than other types of language material. The cultural element of these stories also serves as a valuable stimulus to learning the language. As a result, short stories are also a fantastic way to pick up vocabulary and slang. In addition, stories about a particular location or topic can serve as units for learning a particular word or phrase.

One story written by Heinrich Boll won the Nobel Prize for literature. It follows the story of a fisherman. The story was written during the German economic renaissance in the early 1960s and raises questions about the work ethic associated with prosperity. In addition, a tourist learns a valuable lesson through the fisherman's behavior. While the story may contain difficult words, the plot is simple and the conflict is straightforward.


For nearly 350 years, German novels have delved into the human psyche. While length is not necessarily a key characteristic, German novels are noted for their cerebral content. They have addressed everything from social realism of the 1800s to the metafiction of postwar life, and have been influenced by a variety of literary movements throughout Europe. This article will outline a few of the most notable novels and novelists from German history.

Some of the most well-known German novels are those by Nobel Prize winners and the works of Nazis. Others explore themes like war, Nazism, and political division. The themes in these books also sought to heal the wounds of the twentieth century. In The Great War, Thomas Mann explored the nature of time in modern society and explored the senselessness of war. In "Die graue Manner," a young merchant from Hamburg travels to an isolated sanatorium after World War I. He also examines the life of a pre-war European.

The Perfumer's Apprentice is another novel that explores the dark side of human nature. Set in the 18th century, The Perfumer's Apprentice is a mystery novel that stayed on Der Spiegel's best-seller list for nine years. It was translated into English by John E. Wood, and the translation won the PEN Translation Prize. You can also check out Hoffmann's acclaimed works, such as The Nutcracker ballet and The Sandman short story.

Literary critics

Many people think that literary criticism in Germany is dying. This is a myth, as German book reviews are not only published in newspapers, but can be found on the internet as well. This trend has some critics worried that it will undermine the integrity of professional literary criticism. The German book industry is notorious for its anti-intellectual atmosphere, which is further exacerbated by the addiction to superlatives. Newspaper critics are under pressure to quickly review the latest bestseller, but in reality they don't always have time to read the book. Because of this, many readers view book reviews as a form of recommendation, and share their reading experiences on forums.

A volume of essays titled Literary critics of German literature, Volume I, is the first book to survey the history of German literary criticism. It presents the latest thinking of fifteen distinguished scholars, including renowned literary critics. These essays represent a German-American interdisciplinary school of literary criticism. The essays in this volume are categorized by epoch, but eventually merge into a coherent whole. This book's most important contribution to German literature criticism is its analysis of the development of literary criticism. It traces the rise of the literary public in the era of Gottsched and charts the shift from rule-dominated poetry to taste-based poetry.


The styles of German literature range from the lyrical to the satirical. There are many authors with a wide variety of styles. Friedrich Spee von Langefeld, Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, and Jacob Grimm are all examples of writers with different styles. Other notable figures of German literature include Wilhelm Grimm and Patric Suskind. This article will discuss some of the different styles of German literature and what each one of them has to offer.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, German literature was in a state of decline. Drama was in particular trouble, and a Leipzig professor named Johann Christoph Gottsched tried to revive it. Gottsched, however, was no poet. He thought of poetry as intellectual and practical. He had no use for poetry that was mysterious. Gottsched was also a proponent of French classical drama, which he considered the best exponent of the ancient practice.

Another major style in the twelveth century is the courtly romance. Courtly romance, or "romances of antiquity," was only developed in this era. Versification rules were strictly enforced, and form received careful attention. Middle High German poetry is both elegant and courtly, and the style of language and form are also clearly marked. The classic style of Middle High German poetry was also a product of caste, and was often a work of adaptation and translation.

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