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

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Description

Craig deals with a question that has always been a point of controversy: do political writers have responsibility and are they obliged to show political engagement in their works? Craig answers this question by studying ten German writers from 1770-1871, among them Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, and Heine and finds that these 'unpolitical' writers were actively engaged in their politics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 204 pages
  • 146.3 x 219.2 x 23.1mm | 457.84g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195094999
  • 9780195094992

Back cover copy

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 writers have political responsibility and are they obliged to show political engagement in their works? Craig answers these questions with an unequivocal yes.show more

Review quote

Gordon Craig is a liberal historian of the old school, and an exceptional one ... few will read this book and not sense the presence of a historian who offers a rare combination of learning and belief in the moral value of his subject. * David Blackbourn, London Review of Books *show more

About Gordon A. Craig

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 Statecraftshow more