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The Fortunes of German writers in America: studies in by Wolfgang Elfe, James N. Hardin, Günther Holst

By Wolfgang Elfe, James N. Hardin, Günther Holst

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Among other projects he founded a German Fire-extinguishing Company, (an important public institution for a city threatened and occasionally devastated by fires) and was instrumental in establishing a German language newspaper Der Teutone. It was governed by the motto: "Immer vorwärts ein löbliches Ziel zu erreichen, Und Treu' ohne Furcht im Herzen verwahrt; Kühn und edel, vom Pfad der Pfiicht nicht verweichen, Thatkräftig, das ist Deutscher Sinn und Deutsche Art" (March on to reach your worthy goal; and keep a loyal and fearless heart; with courage and a noble mind, never waver from the path of 8 Felix V.

S. Eliot (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975), 38, 39. Page 5 conditions are altered. He calls attention to the differentiation of various strata of readers, which may be guided by different norms. He places particular emphasis on the literary critic as indicator of a predominant literary taste. 8 The approach of "reception" postulates thus at least a cursory glance at what may be termed the social environment (Umfeld) as well as a reconstruction of the literary norms of the place and time under consideration.

While Grass does not yet equal Böll in the number of translations and the number of copies sold in America, he is in the judgment of Patrick O'Neill the best-known contemporary German writer in North America. " But he also detects differences: while in Germany there is outrage on the political Right and the extreme Left on one side and enthusiastic support elsewhere, one can detect in America outright indifference, if not boredom, on one side and even more lavish praise on the other. '" Grass's and Böll's relative success in America notwithstanding, the general prospect for German literature in present-day America is bleak.

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