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A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder
preview of book A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder
text of book A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder

A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder

Editors: Hans Adler, Wulf Koepke
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Publication Date: 2009
Category: General
Grades: Essential
Number of Pages: 504
Appropriate for: All readers
Choice rating: 
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About this title

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Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) is one of the great names of the classical age of German literature. One of the last universalists, he wrote on aesthetics, literary history and theory, historiography, anthropology, psychology, education, and theology; translated and adapted poetry from ancient Greek, English, Italian, even from Persian and Arabic; collected folk songs from around the world; and pioneered a better understanding of non-European cultures. A student of Kant's, he became Goethe's mentor in Strasbourg, and was a mastermind of the Sturm und Drang and a luminary of classical Weimar. But the wide range of Herder's interests and writings, along with his unorthodox ways of seeing things, seems to have prevented him being fully appreciated for any of them. His image has also been clouded by association with political ideologies, the proponents of which ignored the message of Humanität in his texts. So although Herder is acknowledged by scholars to be one of the great thinkers of European Enlightenment, there is no up-to-date, comprehensive introduction to his works in English, a lacuna this book fills with seventeen new, specially commissioned essays

Contributors: Hans Adler, Wulf Koepke, Steven Martinson, Marion Heinz and Heinrich Clairmont, John Zammito, Jürgen Trabant, Stefan Greif, Ulrich Gaier, Karl Menges, Christoph Bultmann, Martin Keler, Arnd Bohm, Gerhard Sauder, Robert E. Norton, Harro Müller-Michaels, Günter Arnold, Kurt Kloocke, and Ernest A. Menze.

About editors
Hans Adler

Hans Adler is Halls-Bascom Professor of Modern Literature Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wulf Koepke

Wulf Koepke is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of German, Texas A&M University and recipient of the Medal of the International J. G. Herder Society.


A Companion to the works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. by Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke. Camden House, 2009. 489p bibl index afp ISBN 1-57113-395-X; ISBN 9781571133953. Reviewed in 2009sep CHOICE.

Not since the appearance of Clark's monumental Herder: His Life and Thought (1955, 2nd ed., 1962) has anyone produced a Herder study of this scope in English. The list of the 19 contributors of the 17 essays reads like a Who's Who of Herder scholarship. Herder (1744-1803) had wide interests and wrote on numerous 18th-century topics, many discussed in this volume. Here one finds essays on Herder's concept of Humanität, his historical thinking, and his theories of language along with assessments of his epistemology, style, aesthetics and poetics, and influence and reception. Several features make this meticulously edited collection particularly attractive. The texts, including those translated, are in clear and readable English. All Herder quotations are given in German and English. Adler (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) and Koepke (Texas A&M Univ.) provide a solid introduction to Herder and his work and an up-to-date critical apparatus--i.e., editions of Herder's works and letters, English translations, bibliographies, biographies, yearbook studies, and secondary literature are all current. The index is comprehensive. In sum, on all counts this is an impressive, important addition to the growing body of Herder scholarship.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers. -- J. K. Fugate, Kalamazoo College

Copyright 2013 American Library Association


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