This book traces the roots of East German poetry in the tradition of German Romanticism. In the initial chapters, it examines the way in which Romantic traditions have exerted a continuing influence on Marxist theory. It continues with a close analysis of poems by leading East German authors such as Becher, Brecht and Maurer. A fundamental tension is uncovered in this poetry. There is the Romantic tendency to view erotic love as a source of salvation. There is also pressure in a Socialist state to subordinate personal feelings--including love--to collective priorities. While the poets have attempted to resolve this contradiction in highly original ways, none appears entirely successful.