This "Companion to German Literature" presents, in an immensely readable yet profoundly scholarly account, the history of German literature from the Reformation and Renaissance to the late twentieth century, in the wider context of Germanic culture, over the whole German-speaking area of Europe. Nine generically-structured narrative chapters combine a bold synthesis of long-term trends, perennial themes, and characteristics of German literature, from the invention of printing to the computer.Focusing on the perspective of writers and readers in their own time and place, the companion conveys the "feel" of a particular period and the preoccupations of the public to which writers addressed their plays, novels, and poems. Systematic attention is paid to the rich but traditionally neglected contribution made by women writers throughout the period. An extensive alphabetically ordered biographical index to authors discussed and referred to provides an invaluable, easy-reference supplement.
Skrine and Sagarra pay critical attention to the various discontinuities of literature in German while remaining stimulatingly alive to the underlying continuities, exemplified by themes and traditions ranging from Faust and Arminius to folk poetry, from hymns to humour. Their book represents a landmark in the study and exposition of German literary and cultural history.