The literary movement German Expressionism generally dates from around 1905 to 1945. It arose as a reaction against materialism, complacent bourgeois prosperity, rapid mechanization and urbanization, and the domination of the family within pre-World War I European society. It was the dominant literary movement in Germany during and immediately after World War I. The authors explored in their works the predicaments of representative symbolic types rather than of fully developed individualized characters. Expressionist poetry was similarly nonreferential and sought an ecstatic, hymn like lyricism that would have considerable associative power. This condensed, stripped-down poetry, utilizing strings of nouns and a few adjectives and infinitive verbs, eliminated narrative and description to capture the essence of feeling. The dominant themes of Expressionist verse were horror at urban life and apocalyptic visions of the collapse of civilization. This collection of approximately sixty individual items includes correspondence and manuscripts, of both prose and poetry, by forty individuals including Leonhard Frank, George Groz, Oskar Kokoscha, Else Lasker-Schuler, Ernst Toller, and Franz Werfel.
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