This study attempts a fresh look at Gottfried Benn's poetics. It argues for, and demonstrates the value of, a close contextual analysis that takes account of Benn's idiosyncratic habit of expression. A representative selection of critical and literary works written by Benn between 1910 and 1956 is discussed, in order to show how his views on poetry developed to form a consistent pattern of thought, one rooted in the German poetic tradition and pointing beyond its own time to the present day.
Contents: Benn's ars poetica (Probleme der Lyrik) - Departure from Impressionism («Gespräch») - Energy and reason («Die Insel»)
- Nihilism and creativity («Akademie-Rede») - «Rausch» and «Form» («Am Brückenwehr») - «Artistik» («Kunst und Drittes »Reich«)
- Montage (»Marginalien«) - Ambivalence and complexity (»Satzbau«, »Worte«) - Benn and present-day writers.