For Dr Gray German literature since 1871 has been dominated by one intellectual trend: the tendency to think in polar opposites which are felt to be both diametrically opposed and yet capable of fusion, of synthesis. In tracing this trend in literature, he is led to enquire how far the same preoccupations were linked with the German history of the time. In short, did the main literary tradition help to create an atmosphere in which the tyranny of 1933 to 1945 could establish itself. In this 1965 text, Dr Gray uses a combination of broad survey and detailed analysis. The opening chapters isolate and define the tradition, and in a wide sweep show its influence wherever it is to be found in modern German literature, relating it to contemporary events. There are detailed studies of Thomas Mann and Rilke, Hofmannsthal's Der Schwierige and English resistance to German literature.