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Lateness and Modern European Literature$
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Ben Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767695.001.0001

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Epigonentum in Germany of the 1830s

Epigonentum in Germany of the 1830s

(p.95) 5 Epigonentum in Germany of the 1830s
Lateness and Modern European Literature

Ben Hutchinson

Oxford University Press

While the passing of Hegel in 1831 and Goethe in 1832 represented an opportunity for a new generation to shape intellectual discourse, such towering figures also symbolized the intimidating shadow thrown over the 1830s by their achievements. Hegel’s much-discussed thesis of ‘the end of art’ suggests he views romanticism as a kind of late style to the high style of classicism; his view of art as a thing of the past that may transcend itself offers a model of lateness to the post-romantic 1830s German literature. Chapter 5 focuses on three main areas: the figure of the epigone as introduced into modern German culture by Karl Immermann’s Die Epigonen; the ambivalent temporal discourse of ‘Young Germany’, torn between an overpowering past and an uncertain future; and the poetry of Heinrich Heine, who describes himself as the ‘last of the romantics’ and thereby also the ‘first of the moderns’.

Keywords:   Hegel, epigone, Karl Immermann, Heinrich Heine, Junges Deutschland, Karl Gutzkow, Alexander von Ungern-Sternberg

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