Almost a century elapsed between Nietzsche’s first steps in classical studies at school in Pforta and the deaths of Thomas Mann and of Brecht, which followed one another within a year. During these hundred years the history of Europe, indeed of the whole world, was radically changed, and Germany itself was for much of the time in the centre of these changes. But it was not only political and social life that underwent profound upheavals; the realm of ideas was also full of turbulence. Nietzsche was certainly fighting different battles from those fought by Brecht or the later Thomas Mann. Yet there is also a marked continuity. Nietzsche’s cultural criticism reconnoitred much of the terrain upon which subsequent generations of writers campaigned. Though the work of the seven writers of this study is so varied that any attempt to put them into common (superficially defined) categories is mistaken, yet they were facing common problems, and, in one respect at least, their work reveals a similarity of outlook; all of them — and many other writers of the period, too—treated art and the artist with the utmost seriousness, even to the point of placing this concern in the centre of their work.
KeywordsCultural Criticism Imaginative Power Modern Writer Political Thinker Political Conviction
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