This book examines German-language literature from 1750 to 1850, focusing on the tension between exemplarity and mediocrity that was played out primarily in the world of letters. In particular, it considers the paradox of how something that by definition is “nothing out of the ordinary” can be ordinary and extraordinary at once, discussing this paradox along three interrelated aesthetic axes: the average audience, the average artist, and average life. The book offers an interpretation of the first great work of German literature, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther), which manifests one of the tensions between exemplarity and mediocrity: the unequivocal demand for artistic genius coupled with a decided affection for everyday life. It also comments on a dilemma faced by Germany: to establish itself as a literary nation of European quality at a time when success began to be measured in sales. This particular German dilemma is tackled by Goethe and Friedrich Schiller in the collection of notes and charts on dilettantism.
Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.