The Pre-Romantic, the Sentimental, and the Trivial in the Late 18th Century German Literature

Arkadii N. Makarov, Oleg Yu. Polyakov, Olga A. Polyakova, Irina A. Tyutyunnik,
Svetlana I. Tyutyunnik

Vyatka State University, Kirov, Russia. Corresponding email:

Volume IX, Number 3, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n3.11

Received July 20, 2017; Revised September 01, 2017; Accepted September 11, 2017; Published September 20,  2017.


The article deals with the manifestations of sentimentalism and triviality and with the problem of the pre-romanticism in the German literature of the late Enlightenment. Traditionally, such problems are analyzed in the literary studies apart from “high” literature. It is important to comprehend the nature of pre-romanticism as a distinct and remarkable phenomenon of the eighteenth-century literature (and not as an early stage of romanticism), the existence of which during several decades proved its vitality and uniqueness. Triviality, in its turn, existed as a part of the culture in G.E. Lessing’s time, that is, to a great extent before Goethe. It should be marked that triviality had been manifested in literature long before the Enlightenment. Traditional and repeated themes and plots may be the markers of triviality as a cultural phenomenon.

Keywords: the Enlightenment, XVIII century German Literature, triviality, high and trivial German literature, mass culture, pre-romanticism