By Hans Mayer
Translated and with an Introduction by Jack D. Zipes
Eleven Essays on Literature and the Social Conflict by a Leading Marxist Critic
"In this remarkable collection of essays, a leading European literary critic ranges far and wide among contemporary writers of Europe and America. Hesse, Brecht,Ionesco, Sartre, Gombrowicz, Pasternak, and many others are examined with original and provocative insights. Dr. Mayer, Marxist in orientation, perceives literature as inseparable from history and social dynamics as he traces through two thousand years of drama and fiction the social roles of the alienated "steppenwolves" and the bourgeois 'everymen.' Nevertheless he is profoundly concerned with the individual vision and the creative process. His long essay on Brecht is one of the most knowledgeable and perceptive ever written. But he is equally incisive in his essays on writers as diverse as Mann, Dürrenmatt, Musil, Grass, and Wilder."
"Hans Mayer, who fled Nazi Germany of necessity, and later East Germany by choice, teaches at the University of Hannover. Once a practicing lawyer, he has for many years been known throughout Europe for his books of criticism, and as a lecturer. He is equally at home with drama, fiction, and social and political criticism. Although his knowledge of the whole range of literature from the classical period to the present is prodigious, he wears his erudition lightly, writing in an informal style hardly expected from a German critic. Jack D. Zipes teaches contemporary German literature at New York University. In addition to translating Dr. Mayer's essays, he has contributed a helpful introduction to his work."
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