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NeMLA 2014 - April 3-6, 2014, Harrisburg PA

Aesthetics of War: Poets and Poetry Around 1914
This panel proposes revisiting poets, poetry, and poetics of the pre-WWI and
early war period to engage both with the works and the question as to
whether literary history has paid due diligence to the pre-war period, or if
there are systematic reasons for tending to marginalize German expressionism
(and related literary movements of the time). 

Please send paper proposals to Thomas Herold at [log in to unmask]

One hundred years after the outbreak of WWI, German Studies and canonization
is mostly occupied with literature that interprets or critically engages
with WWI after the fact: Be it Im Westen nichts Neues, Der Zauberberg, or
Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften – WWI is always a observed with critical
distance. On the other hand, while German Expressionism has become part of
the canon and while the poets of the movement set a monument to themselves
with Menschheitsdämmerung, poets, poetry, and poetics of the immediate
pre-war era and the beginning of the “Great War” do not enjoy the same
prominence in German Studies as the literature of post-war engagement. One
potential reason may be politics (academia does not enjoy nationalism and,
if at all, engages with Ernst Jünger, for instance, not because of but
despite his politics); another reason may be quality (“Rilke is just better
than August Stamm”); yet another reason may be historical and coincidental:
the fact that many of these young poets were swallowed up by the very thing
that inspired their writing: the war. This panel proposes revisiting poets,
poetry, and poetics of the pre-war and early war period to engage both with
the works and the question as to whether literary history has paid due
diligence to the pre- and early war period, or if there are indeed
systematic reasons for tending to marginalize German expressionism (and
related literary movements of the time). Topics may include but are not
limited to

-       Poets and poetry around 1914: Interpretations/readings of specific works
-       Aesthetics of war in Expressionist poetry
-       The politics of Expressionism: Nationalism or Aestheticism?
-       The politics of canonization: Political bias in literary historiography?

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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
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