«Spring» in German lyric poetry: joy, hope and revival?

Sokolova E.V.


The article examines the main images and motifs related to the spring season as presented in German and Austrian lyric poetry at different times and in different cultural paradigms. The research is based on a wide thematic sample of German-language lyric poems (from the Minnesang era to the early 2000s). It shows that the traditional poetic view of spring, culminating in the first half of the nineteenth century, was closely related to the motifs of joy, awakening, transformation, revival and the metaphors of water, sounds and colors. However, at the turn of the twentieth century some new tendencies are to be noticed: some motifs that characterized mainly winter in German poetry in the past – such as silence, stiffness, death, – entered «spring poetry». The quantitative predominance of «winter» poems (according to their image systems) over the «spring» ones is clear in many poetic anthologies of the late twentieth – early twenty-first century (which may indirectly indicate a weakening of the «spring» aspects, named in the title of the article, in the «collective subconsciousness» of German speaking people).


German-language lyric poetry; images and motifs; new tendencies in German lyrics; spring in lyric poetry.

DOI: 10.31249/lit/2022.01.01

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