Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal

From the national «Literaturgeschichten» to «the science of European literature»: an episode out of the history of German philology. P. 1: The origin of «Literaturgeschichte» and its structure; P. 2: The extraliteral components of the history of literature

Makhov A.E.


Ernst Robert Curtius’s book «European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages» is put in correlation with the «history of national poetry», which was one of the leading genres in 19th-century German philology. In this context, Curtius’s book appears to be a solution of the crisis caused by the cultivation of a national approach to literature. Curtius productively inverts all the principles of this approach, replacing nationalism with Europeanism, stadiality with continuity, emphasis on content with primary attention to the aspects of form; in general, the history of literature gets a new life in a «historical topics». The «science of European literature» created by Curtius is born from a negative reaction to the attitudes of nationally oriented Germanistics.


Georg Gervinus; Joseph von Eichenforff; Wilhelm Scherer; Ernst Robert Curtius; history of national poetry; science of European literature; historical topics.

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2020.47.06

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