This is a reissue of Professor Stern's distinguished study of German prose from the death of Goethe to the heyday of the Wilhelminian Empire. Professor Stern argues that nineteenth-century German prose is characterized by a particular combination of the prophetic and the archaic, of the existential and the parochial, and is only partially and sometimes not at all related to the social and political realities of the age. In this sense, German literature of the period stands apart from the main stream of European realism and has, for that reason, received little attention from the common reader outside its own country. The book contains studies of Goethe, Grillparzer, Buchner, Schopenhauer, Heine, Stifter and Fontane, all of whom re-interpreted the world from points of view other than that of the common and commonly explored social certainties of their age. Consequently, Professor Stern suggests alternative criteria to the common notion of realism with which to asses their work."