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From Goethe to Gundolf

Roger Paulin


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1These essays are a selection of my research papers and public lectures over a period of nearly forty years. They represent my major interests — Romanticism, and the reception of Shakespeare in Germany — but also excursions into other areas that have caught my imagination. I have always taught across a broad spectrum of German literature, and these essays reflect that scope. With three exceptions, they have all appeared in scholarly journals or collected volumes, between 1982 to 2010. Most have been subject to some reformulation, but their substantial arguments have not been changed. I have taken the opportunity to correct some errors and to add references to more recent scholarship.

2This collection draws on pieces which were in the true sense ‘occasional’, and others which arose out of my major research interests. Those in the former category include the chapter on Kleist (Chapter 6), inspired by Charles Tomlinson’s Clark Lectures in Cambridge and very much an early ‘one-off’; while the chapter on Academic Freedom (Chapter 7), my Inaugural Lecture in Cambridge in 1990, pertinent then, still retains its relevance today. Several chapters reflect my abiding love of poetry in all its forms and my pleasure in teaching it. They are all based on public lectures given in Cambridge (Klopstock, Chapter 14; Werther, Chapter 1; Wallenstein, Chapter 3; Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Chapter 15; Rilke’s Tenth Elegy, Chapter 16). My interest in Romanticism, its origins and its pervasive influence, is displayed in the chapters on Goethe and Stolberg (Chapter 2), Fairy Stories (Chapter 8) and Gundolf (Chapter 9). They cover concerns not always central to present-day Romantic studies. Chapter 4 is a brief but in-depth study of an aspect of August Wilhelm Schlegel, that cosmopolitan writer of whom I wrote a biography in 2016. Similarly, Heine and Shakespeare (Chapter 11) and the ‘Schillerfeier’ (Chapter 12) look at detailed issues in Shakespeare’s reception in Germany that arose in the composition of my monograph on the same subject (2003). The link between the lives of the poets, their commemoration and the literary canon, has always been an interest of mine: ‘Adding Stones to the Edifice’ (Chapter 5) examines the German biographical tradition, Wilhelm Müller (Chapter 10) serves to illustrate the problems of a ‘minor’ poet, and ‘Under the Horse’s Tail’ (Chapter 13) looks at the public memorialization of the poets. My chapter on Julius Hare’s books in Trinity College Library (Chapter 17) tells of the treasures of German literature to be found there and records my lasting love of books in all forms, however obscure or recondite.

3The translations are my own, unless otherwise indicated.

4I wish to record my gratitude to my friend and colleague Peter Hutchinson, who was responsible for commissioning and originally publishing five of these pieces.

5I have been encouraged in this endeavour by the example of my late friend and colleague, Hugh Barr Nisbet, whose dedication to scholarship — and whose stoicism in adversity — I here acknowledge.

6The Managers of the Schröder Fund, Department of German, University of Cambridge, made a generous grant towards the production of this book.

7I wish to record my thanks to all at Open Book Publishers who have seen this book through to its completion, not least their patience and forbearance with an author whose IT literacy leaves much to be desired.


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