Now that the most recent era of American "Germanistik" — i.e., that of the almost exclusive commitment to the tenets of New Criticism — has reached its climax and begun to subside, its practioners have begun to reopen themselves to pursuits the goals of which do not necessarily lie within the realm of the aesthetic. Only twenty years ago Rene Wellek condemned the extension of the literary scholar's horizon to include the investigation of national images as they express themselves in literature as being causative of a dissolution "of literary scholarship into social psychology." Recently, however, the profession has become more receptive to claims for the need of this very type of expansion. In a paper delivered at the Amherst Colloquium on Modern German Literature in 1975, "Die sechste Schwierigkeit beim Schreiben der Wahrheit: Zum Gruppendenken in Leben und Literatur," Egon Schwarz spoke to the need for a study of stereotypes in literature. Literature and literary history (or, more accurately, its representation in " secondary" literature), said Schwarz, play an important role in the creation and propagation of stereotypes. The benefit to be derived from such study would be — by implication — intellectual emancipation: Schwarz began his paper by expressing his opinion, "dass unser gesamtes emotion ales und intellectuelles Leben in Mythen und Illusionen befangen ist, von denen wir uns trotz redlicher Bemlihung nie ganz befreien konnen."



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