The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byGordon A. Craig

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In a book written during the First World War, Thomas Mann wrote that political activity was alien to the German spirit and that "in fact the political element was absent from the German concept of education." The Politics of the Unpolitical demonstrates the essential unreliability of thisgeneralization by focusing on the political activity of ten of Germany's most widely respected writers in the period from the French Revolution to the founding of the Bismarck Reich in 1871. Gordon A. Craig's book shows how Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Holderlin, and Heine were fascinated by the political issues of their day and reacted either by entering public service or threw themselves into efforts to change society for the better. In his study of tenof Germany's most important intellectuals Craig, focuses on their political views and activities and argues that they were not, in fact, representatives of the genre of the "unpolitical German."

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From Our Editors

In The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871, historian Gordon Craig demonstrates the essential unreliability of this generalization by focusing on the political activity of ten of Germany's most widely respected writers in the period from the French Revolution to the founding of the Bismarck R...

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In a book written during the First World War, Thomas Mann wrote that political activity was alien to the German spirit and that "in fact the political element was absent from the German concept of education." The Politics of the Unpolitical demonstrates the essential unreliability of thisgeneralization by focusing on the political acti...

Gordon A. Craig is J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is the author of numerous books including The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640-1945 (1955), and Force and Statecraft

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.71 × 0.83 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195094999

ISBN - 13:9780195094992

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From Our Editors

In The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871, historian Gordon Craig demonstrates the essential unreliability of this generalization by focusing on the political activity of ten of Germany's most widely respected writers in the period from the French Revolution to the founding of the Bismarck Reich. Craig shows how Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Holderlin, and Heine were fascinated by the political issues of their day and - by focusing on their political views and activities - urges that they were not representatives of the genre of the "unpolitical German". On the contrary, Craig argues, the writers studied here were all interested in and in various ways engaged in political life. He also examines the overwhelming effect of the personality of Napoleon Bonaparte upon German politics, awakening intellectuals to the vital importance of power in its many dimensions in the political process. The Politics of the Unpolitical deals with a question that has always been a point of controversy: do write

Editorial Reviews

"This collection of essays is a pleasure to read but will perplex many of its readers. The essays themselves are vintage Craig: graceful and wide ranging."--American Historical Review