Criticism: Themes In Literary Expressionism - Essay

Egbert Krispyn (essay date 1964)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Krispyn, Egbert. “The Pattern of Pathos.” In Style and Society in German Literary Expressionism, pp. 44-52. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964.

[In the following excerpt, Krispyn examines the trait of pathos, or the desire to awaken an emotional response in the reader, as one of the main characteristics of Expressionist literature.]

The definition of the three main types of expressionist writing is inadequate for evaluating how closely work of other periods may be stylistically related to expressionism. A criterion must be sought which is independent of such themes and topics as hatred of Wilhelmian Germany or faith in a communist paradise. The...

(The entire section is 3563 words.)

Raymond Furness (essay date 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Furness, Raymond. “The Religious Element in Expressionist Theatre.” In Expressionism Reassessed, edited by Shulamith Behr, David Fanning, and Douglas Jarman, pp. 163-73. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Furness presents an overview of Expressionist drama and its treatment of religion, noting that its main theme may be summed up as “the revolt of the spirit against reality.”]

In Reinhard Sorge's The Beggar, a play written in 1910 and performed some five years later, a discussion between various literati in the obligatory coffee-house turns upon a recent dramatic work which is regarded as...

(The entire section is 4399 words.)

Richard Murphy (essay date 1998)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Murphy, Richard. “Re-Writing the Discursive World: Revolution and the Expressionist Avant-Garde.” In Theorizing the Avant-Garde: Modernism, Expressionism, and the Problem of Postmodernity, pp. 49-73. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

[In the following excerpt, Murphy explores the revolutionary tendency of many Expressionist poets, citing their use of such techniques as irony, skepticism, and manipulation of the signifier in language.]

“Death to the Moonlight!”

(Futurist slogan)

The heterogeneous and frequently vague nature of the many manifestoes and...

(The entire section is 10665 words.)