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German literature

German literature has a great history throughout time. When Alexander the Great was opening new fields to Greek science by his invasion of India, Pytheas of Massilia started from his native town, sailed through the straits of Gibraltar, along the western coast of Spain and France, and, passing Great Britain, discovered at the mouth of the Rhine a new people: the Teutons. A little late, they adopted a Gallic name: Germans, which is supposed to mean “the neighbors”. This tribe emerged with its own language and identity; many members of this new tribe wrote small pieces of poetry. Those were the first steps to build a new literary culture: German Literature.

Many readers may still inquire concerning the characteristic of writers before the time of Herder, Goethe, and Schiller.  German people employ every day, in their household language, the words of oldest Teutonic or German ballad-singers who sang of the exploits of Tuisco before the Christian era, and which were afterwards employed by the writer of the old epic poem “The Nibelungen–Lied”, which is one of the first German poems.   

The earliest German literary documents date from the second half of the eighth century, and the earliest literary document of any Germanic language is the Gothic translation of the Bible made by Wulfila, or Ulfilas, who was a bishop of the Goths in the north of Danube from 341 to 348. The principal manuscript, the Codex argenteus, is one of the world’s greatest literary treasures; it was written in 500 and discovered in the 16th century in the monastery of Werdenan der Ruhr. The historical events have influenced over the German literary production. Each stage of the German history has had many important writers and events such as World War I and II made which made writers have a broader view of the world.

Sturm and Drang was a proto-Romantic movement of the German literature, this literary movement was created by the emblematic writers Johann Georg Hamann, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. People can find several German literary masterpieces of this movement. German literature has had an essential importance and influence under other literary movements around the world. The German Romanticism was a dominant movement that offered writers such as Friedrich Schlegel, G.W.F. Hegel, E.T.A. Hoffman, and Friedrich Hölderlin. The modern German literature is more traditional, but it still offers readers a wide range of literary masterpieces.

German literature is an important part of the German culture; so many language schools use it as a language tool to help their student learn German language. German people appreciate their literary heritage; people can find traces of this even if they look for music jobs, or studies in a German university. German literature has several things to discover. Many universities offer specialized studies in this field. It would be advisable to read a German poem, novel or drama in order to learn more about this wonderful culture.

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