“Autumn” in German poetry: sadness, farewell, hope or death?



Completing the series of works on the seasons as reflected in German poetry, the article considers autumn poems by some influential poets of the German-language cultural space. It focuses mainly on the three time periods: the end of the eighteenth – the first half of the nineteenth centuries (classicism, romanticism); the early twentieth century (symbolism, expressionism); the last quarter of the twentieth century (modern poetry). It shows how the poets of each of these periods see autumn and what may change from one period to another. The poetic depiction of autumn is based on images of completion, ending of something, including the fading of color and sound. Contrasting autumn with spring helps poets to bring hope. The motifs of beauty and passion, often demonic, also sound in autumn poems at different times, with varying intensity, as well as those of ripening and harvesting fruits, satisfaction (dissatisfaction) with life, summarizing it at different levels.


German poetry; Austrian poetry; Autumn in the poetry of romanticism; Autumn in the poetry of expressionism; Joseph von Eichendorff, Theodor Storm, Georg Trakl.

DOI: 10.31249/lit/2022.04.02

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