Applying archetypal criticism, and more particularly Northrop Frye's understanding of the nature of literature, this book investigates archetypal patterns in German literature from Goethe's
Faust to Dorst's
Merlin. The Old Retold attempts to illuminate the archetypal unity of German literature and to reveal it as a continuum beyond the chronology of conventionally accepted periods and movements. Frye's critical mode is introduced to an area in which it is largely unknown or ignored. The collection demonstrates that this approach can be fruitfully used to shed new light on German literature of the past two hundred years.