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Paragraph on “American and German literature” complete paragraph for Class 9, Class 10, Class 11 and Class 12

American and German literature 

In the middle of the eighteenth century American literature had its beginning. One of the first American writers to be known out-side his own continent was Washington Irving, who lived from 1783-1859. His Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow showed Europe that America already had her own legends and way of life.

Fenimore Cooper, at the same time in The Pathfinder and The Last of the Mohicans, described the existence of the settlers and began the romance of the Red Indian, which has lasted so long. But it was not until about 50 years later that American literature began to exert an influence on what was being written in western Europe.

Germany began for the first time to pro-duce literature which aroused interest in Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was during this time that perhaps the two greatest writers of Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and Johann Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) lived. Their work had considerable effect on other writers outside their own country.

Both Goethe and Schiller believed that if a man could develop all his powers equally, he would find himself in perfect harmony with himself and his life. Schiller in his play Wilhelm Tell and Goethe in his epic Hermann and Dorothea give examples of their beliefs.

From these early ideas developed a Ger-man Romantic movement. This movement maintained that art was something above normal life and almost religious in feeling. In this period of thinking much outstanding lyric poetry was written, such as the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm, and Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister and the second part of Faust. Another talented, German writer of this time was Heinrich Heine who was a gifted satirist and lyricist. His most well-known book of poems is Buch der Lieder.

Which three Scandinavian writers became famous in the nineteenth century?

One was a Dane, Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales and stories include such masterpieces as The Ugly Duckling and The Snow Queen. The other two were dramatists, Augustus Strindberg, a Swede and Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian.

Strindberg’s best known plays are The Father, Miss Julie and The Dance of Death. Ibsen’s plays which include The Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler and The Master Builder are really neither tragedies nor comedies, but are intended to make audiences think out many of the questions which confront most people.


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