The German Picaro and Modernity: Between Underdog and Shape-shifter - New Directions in German Studies 2 (Hardback)Bernhard Malkmus (author)
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Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 17 mm
"Socialized into the German cultural tradition, but equally familiar with the literatures of the Iberian Peninsula, Bernhard Malkmus, in his book The German Picaro and Modernity, made me aware of and fully developed a thought that had previously (but only vaguely) crossed my mind. This is the thought of whether a specific and quite ironically: a specifically deep connection could exist between the figure of the 'Picaro' and what we have come to identify as 'the German mind.' A connection where the 'Picaro' not unlike certain tones in the legacy of Romantic literature embodied and articulated what a culture so intensely invested in metaphysical depth has never taken the freedom to think." Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guerard Professor in Literature, Professor of French and Italian and Comparative Literature, Stanford University, USA
"German literature is often supposed to be serious, strenuous, even ponderous. With Bernhard Malkmus' study on the German picaro, we step right into a totally different landscape of German literature: alert, playful, entertaining and elegant. The refinement comes from the change of view Malkmus is proposing. The hero of this exciting book is old-fashioned and progressive at the same time; deriving from the picaro in the Spanish Renaissance, he enters modernity as a trickster who finds himself both inside and outside of the social system. With his mastery of mimicry and simulation, the trickster challenges historical facts as well as moral virtues. Writers such as Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, and Thomas Mann employed their trickster-protagonists to confront the world as it is with the ironic playfulness of chance, dream, and emotions. Even in the most desperate chapters of German history, Malkmus finds proofs for the resistance of the picaresque. His book is an impressive demonstration of the art of story-telling, and a plea for the power of fantasy." Alexander Honold, Professor of German Literature, Basel University, Switzerland.
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