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DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/jhass.2021.01.013

Engagement with Death Through Literature: Johannes von Tepl’s Plowman (ca. 1400) and Werner Bergengruen’s Death in Reval (1941)

Date: May 7,2021 |Hits: 271 Download PDF How to cite this paper

Albrecht Classen

University of Arizona Department of German Studies 301 LSB Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

*Corresponding author: Albrecht Classen

Abstract

Literature assumes a huge role in all of human existence, especially with regard to some of the fundamental concerns in life: love, the quest for God, death, and the meaning of all existence. Through the literary lens, those issues have been addressed already throughout the centuries across the world, which strikingly confirms the critical importance of literature per se. This paper discusses the famous literary debate The Plowman by the Czech-German writer Johannes von Tepl (ca. 1400) and the short stories The Death in Reval by Werner Bergengruen (1941) in order to illustrate how much the fictional discourse contributes in a central fashion to the universal efforts to come to terms with such an evanescent phenomenon as death. The paper does not try to carry out a comparative analysis but presents these two works as major contributors to the literary discourse on death. As we can observe, humans have always responded to death with deep emotions, and those are difficult to cope with. Through the literary lens, however, the readers can gain a sensitive distance and learn how to come terms with this phenomenon. We also realize how much medieval literature can actually contribute powerfully to our contemporary concerns, despite a different cultural-mental framework and a remote language.

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How to cite this paper

Engagement with Death Through Literature: Johannes von Tepl’s Plowman (ca. 1400) and Werner Bergengruen’s Death in Reval (1941)

How to cite this paper: Albrecht Classen. (2021) Engagement with Death Through Literature: Johannes von Tepl’s Plowman (ca. 1400) and Werner Bergengruen’s Death in Reval (1941). Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Science5(1), 125-136.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/jhass.2021.01.013

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