Literature in the Restoration and Biedermeier period

The literature of the restoration epoch includes the literature from the period 1815–1848, which is essentially characterized by the contemplative Biedermeier and the politically understandable pre- March from the end of the Vienna Congress in 1815 to the beginning of the bourgeois-liberal March Revolution in 1848.

The term “Biedermeier” appeared first in literary circles in the form of a pseudonym, Gottlieb Biedermaier, used by the country doctor Adolf Kussmaul and lawyer Ludwig Eichrodt in poems that the duo had published in the Munich journal Fliegende Blätter. The verses parodied the people of the era, namely Samuel Friedrich Sauter, a primary teacher and sort of amateurish poet, as depoliticized and petit-bourgeois. The name was constructed from the titles of two poems—”Biedermanns Abendgemütlichkeit” (Biedermann’s Evening Comfort) and “Bummelmaiers Klage” (Bummelmaier’s Complaint)—which Joseph Victor von Scheffel had published in 1848 in the same magazine. As a label for the epoch, the term has been used since around 1900.

Due to the strict control of publication and official censorship, Biedermeier writers primarily concerned themselves with non-political subjects, like historical fiction and country life. Political discussion was usually confined to the home, in the presence of close friends.

Typical Biedermeier poets are Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Adelbert von Chamisso, Friedrich Halm, Eduard Mörike, and Wilhelm Müller, the last two of whom have well-known musical settings by Hugo Wolf and Franz Schubert respectively. Adalbert Stifter was a novelist and short story writer whose work also reflected the concerns of the Biedermeier movement, particularly with his novel, Der Nachsommer. As historian Carl Emil Schorske put it, “To illustrate and propagate his concept of Bildung, compounded of Benedictine world piety, German humanism, and Biedermeier conventionality, Stifter gave to the world his novel Der Nachsommer”.

The era division
With regard to the literature from the period from 1815 to 1848, one can differentiate between different currents. The politically committed literature of the Vormärz and the apparently idyllic Biedermeier can be emphasized most clearly. With his three-volume work Biedermeier period, Friedrich Sengle emphasized the similarities of these literary directions. According to his observations, all authors reacted to the challenge of modernization, either by opening themselves up to the new times and engaging socially and politically, or by fearfully fending off modern developments and emphasizing traditional values.

The name of the epoch is still fluctuating. Sengle’s “Biedermeier period” did not prevail because the term is one-sided, the alternative “restoration epoch” is ambiguous because political restoration has also taken place in other times.

Intellectual currents of the time
The literature of this period is very diverse and dominated by Christian revivalist literature and the idyllic Biedermeier on the one who committed literature of the pre-March and the boy Germany and the agitation poems as a Georg Herwegh on the other side. Nevertheless, it is possible to consider the literature of this epoch as one.

All authors were aware that they were living in a transition period. They had witnessed the great French Revolution and in 1815 they learned that the Vienna Congress had largely restored the old conditions. The fraternities were banned due to the Karlovy Vary decisions in 1819, and freedom of teaching and the press was severely restricted. The so-called “Biedermeier Quietism ” also spread among intellectuals, accompanied by a retreat into the privacy of the family. One practiced “modest modesty” (Eduard Mörike) and cultivated the “devotion of the little one” (Adalbert Stifter).

However, many contemporaries knew that it would not stay that way and that progress could not be stopped. Church and religion had apparently survived the revolution unscathed, but atheism became an opportunity for enlightened intellectuals to evade the constraints of these institutions. The economy was still based on the ideal of the artisan, but the guilds were lifted in Prussia, freedom of trade was introduced and industrialization broke out. The old political powers had been restored, but the territorial shifts of the Napoleonic era remained and the liberal movementfought for political participation of the bourgeoisie, which eventually led to the March Revolution of 1848.

The poets found this time and the people in it to be torn, and torn people, fluctuating between opposites who are unable to make consistent decisions, are typical of the literature of the era. Immermann describes this attitude to life in his autobiographical work Die Jugend 25 years ago as divided and double, pathological, nervous and lacking in life. This attitude is also reflected in the characters in the novel, such as Mörike’s painter Nolten, and especially in the friend of the title character, Larken.

The confrontation with Goethe was also formative for the poets of the era. They were aware that their works could only be epigonal after the height of German classical music. August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde and Friedrich Rückert tried to open up new forms of poetry, using antique and oriental models, but their works seem above all artificial and above all Rückert was also often parodyed. Mörike, on the other hand, succeeded in productively developing antique forms in his poems based on Goethe’s example.

Schiller’s classic role model also continued in the drama, for example with Franz Grillparzer.

On the other hand, there was a deliberate turn away from classic literature. With the poets of the Vormärz, adventure poetry basically only appeared parodic. Christian Dietrich Grabbe wrote a drama of open form with Napoleon or The Hundred Days and Georg Büchner wrote a documentary drama with Danton’s death.

In prose, which was not tied to ancient traditions, the forms literally exploded: travel descriptions, reports, essays, and character sketches developed into popular genres.

However, the poets of this era were not only concerned with dealing with the literary forms of classical music. They also accused Goethe of his “Olympic” coldness and opposed their commitment. Heinrich Heine summed up the feeling of many when he wrote that Goethe’s death meant the end of the art era. This saying contains both: the distance to a time when art was only being driven for the sake of art and ignored social realities, but at the same time grief over the loss of the possibility of autonomous art.

The Biedermeier man was caricatured as a depoliticized petty bourgeois driven by naive, loyal efforts and harmony addiction. These and similar connotations still adhere to the not insignificant literature of the Biedermeier to this day. B. Franz Grillparzers The dream of a life that can hardly be read today without irony:

Only one thing is happiness down here
One: silent peace within

The characteristic of Biedermeier is the emphasis on calm, order, bourgeois tranquility, modesty, moderation and the quiet, inconspicuous; the demonic is avoided. As a result, smaller forms are preferred, such as mood, sketch or novella. N is certainly the finding that a number of authors of the Biedermeier period of a conservative were intended to reactionary attitude and in an increasingly from the industrialization and the hereby accompanying urbanization driven world for a simple, harmonious life back craved. This trend is characterized by the work of Heinrich Clauren, especially his story Mimili, with which the Biedermeier literature started successfully in 1816. In this sense, the literature of the Biedermeier period, as can be seen in some respects from the Romantic period, is idyllic and averted from current affairs, and thus a reflection on the social present, on an alienation and emptying of meaning, which in the return to elementary Experience and work should be missed. In contrast to Romanticism, whose writers were primarily recruited from the nobility, the literary figures of the Biedermeier were citizens who often came from rather simple backgrounds.

The nature was not the poets of the Biedermeier more projection wistful world and Ichschmerzes but good and creation and observe sharp. This happened not only from a Christian perspective, but also from a pantheistic perspective. Emerging research trips served to appreciate all individual elements of this nature, many of which were also gladly collected, cataloged and then exhibited at home. And even if this appreciation pointed to the Christian God as the creator, religiosity did not shut down, but promoted the timid empiricalInterests. However, criticism of the perceived alienation also created an elitarism that distinguished itself from lightness and self-indulgence.

Founderformulates this as a “gentle law”: ” Just as it is in the outer nature, so it is in the inner, in that of the human race. A whole life full of justice, simplicity, self-mastery, reasonableness, efficacy in his circle, admiration of the beautiful combined with a serene calm dying I think is great: powerful movements of the mind, terrible rolling anger, the desire for revenge, the inflamed mind, who strives for activity, outlines, changes, destroys and often throws his own life into excitement, I do not think it is bigger, but smaller, since these things are so good only the production of individual and one-sided forces, like storms, fire-breathing mountains, Earthquake. We want to see the gentle law that guides the human race. It is the law of justice, the law of custom, the law that wants everyone to be respected, honored and safe, besides the other, that they can pursue their higher human career, themselves Acquire the love and admiration of his fellow human beings that he will be guarded as a gem, just like every person is a gem for all other people. This law is everywhere where people live next to people. ”(Preface toColorful stones, 1853)

The end of time is generally seen in Stifter’s work. His first novel, Nachsommer (which he himself called “narration”) did not appear until 1857, but was nevertheless considered the most exquisite work of the Biedermeier period. Stifters Bildungsroman The post-summer is actually not attributable to the Biedermeier period. Rather, this educational novel belongs to the canon of realism literature and is an example of this peculiar genre in Germany. Stifter worked on Rosegger and Ganghofer, on Heyse, Freytag and Wildenbruch as well as directly in the following bourgeois realisminside, on Storm and Fontane and over these on Thomas Mann and Hesse.

Stifter’s work, which repeatedly caused controversy, also shows elements that go beyond the Biedermeier period. For example, in the novella Brigitta, in addition to the Sophocleic-fatalistic, the emancipatory aspect of women’s rights.

Other authors more or less attributable to Biedermeier are Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Franz Grillparzer, Wilhelm Hauff, Karl Leberecht Immermann, Nikolaus Lenau, Eduard Mörike, Wilhelm Müller (the “Greek Müller”), Johann Nepomuk Nestroy, Ferdinand Raimund, Friedrich Rückert, Friedrich Hebbel and Leopold Schefer. Pure Biedermeier literature can be found much more in the trivial area, in literature calendars and the like. Ä.

Literary Vormärz in Germany
The term pre-March is a fuzzy collective term for the oppositional to revolutionary political literature of the decades before the German March Revolution of 1848. The beginning of this literary epoch is controversial; some set it at 1815 (Congress of Vienna), others at 1819 (Karlsbader resolutions), 1830 (July Revolution) or 1840. The literature of Vormärz also includes Georg Büchner’s literary works (Woyzeck, Lenz, Der Hessische Landbote, Leonce and Lena, Danton’s death) and the author group of Young Germany. The pre-March, which sought political changes in Germany and hoped for an improvement in living conditions, stood in contrast to the literature of the conservative, restorative and politically resigned Biedermeier. The letter and the travelogue are important genres of the Vormärz.

The boy Germany, whose publications in 1835 by the German Bundestag were banned, is probably the most important group of authors that time. The representatives of this trend wanted to raise the political awareness of the bourgeoisie and demanded a politically committed literature with the aim of the revolution. The main representatives were Christian Dietrich Grabbe, Ludwig Börne (letters from Paris), Heinrich Laube, August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Ferdinand Freiligrath (Ca ira; new political and social poems), Bettina von Arnim (this book belongs to the king), Georg Weerth(Humorous sketches from German commercial life, life and deeds of the famous knight Schnapphanski), Louise Aston (my emancipation) and Georg Herwegh (poems by a living one).

Heinrich Heine, who is sometimes also attributed to Young Germany, distanced himself from these ” tendency poets ” for aesthetic reasons, because in their “rhymed newspaper articles” they advocated changes in a too rebellious manner and thereby neglected poetry, art and aesthetics. Nevertheless, as a poet of the Vormärz, Heine shared the social criticism of the young Germans and his works, together with those of the young Germany, were banned in 1835.