Article: PDF
DOI: 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-03-23
Abstract: The article presents and substantiates a new interdisciplinary approach to the study of one of the most important and famous literary documents of the 20th century – the anthology of expressionist poetry in German “Twilight of Humanity: A Symphony of the Newest Poetry”, published by K. Pinthus in 1919. The novelty of this approach lies in the fact that for the first time in Russian and foreign expressionist studies this literary document is not considered as a collection of “classical anthology of expressionist poetry”, but as an author’s book of K. Pinthus himself, as a coherent text including many multi-level interconnected elements. Pinthus’s definition of the four-part composition of the collection as “symphonic” is taken as the basis of speculations about the architectonics of the book and is considered not metaphorically, as is customary in expressionism, but in exact accordance with the composition and character of the classical symphony, in accordance with the sonata form (an exposition, a development, a recapitulation and a coda) in interaction with other themes, motives and poetic images in the four-part-composition of the book. The interdisciplinary approach chosen to analyze the composition of the book is based on the fact that the context of a classical symphony is used as an element of research toolkit while studying modernist poetry. The point of view, popular in expressionist studies, that the main themes of the anthology are determined by its four subtitles (“Sturz und Schrei”, “Erweckung des Herzens”, “Aufruf und Empörung”, “Liebe den Menschen”), is opposed to the hypothesis, that these names are used by K. Pinthus, like in music, to indicate the tempo, the mood and the nature of the movement of each of the parts in this poetic symphony, as well as elements of the sygnificance of a large-scale work to solve the problem of thematic unification of the cycle. A frontal analysis of the motives and the composition of the collection confirms such a hypothesis. This new scientific approach to the study of a “classical anthology” presented in the article is taken as a basis in the collective monograph entitled “The Poetry of Twilight or The Symphony of Humanity”, prepared for publication by Russian Germanists from Ekaterinburg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Togliatti, and N. Novgorod. Along with the traditional literary analysis of the anthology, including historical-literary and linguistic methods, the team of authors widely uses the methods of related sciences, and specifically musicology.
Key words: Expressionist poetry; poetic genres; classical symphonies; sonata form; composition of the anthology; collections of poems.

Для цитирования:

Пестова Н. В. K 100-летию собрания немецкой экспрессионистской лирики: антология «Сумерки человечества. Симфония новейшей поэзии» Курта Пинтуса как единое литературное произведение / Н. В. Пестова // Philological Class. – 2021. – Vol. 26 ⋅ №3. – С. 270–278. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-03-23.

For citation

Pestova, N. V. (2020). To the Centennial of the Collection of German Expressionist Poems: the Anthology “Twilight of Humanity: a Symphony of the Newest Poetry” By Kurt Pinthus as one Whole Literary Work. In Philological Class. 2021. Vol. 26 ⋅ №3. P. 270–278. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-03-23.

About the author(s) :

Natalia V. Pestova

Center for Advanced Science and Academic Education SIRIUS (Ekaterinburg, Russia)


Publication Timeline:

Date of receipt: 22.09.2021; date of publication: 29.10.2021.


Sumerki chelovechestva. Lirika nemetskogo ekspressionizma [Twilight of Humanity. Lyrics of German Expressionism]. (1990). Moscow, Moskovskii rabochii. 271 p.

Edschmid, K. (1961). Lebendiger Expressionismus: Auseinandersetzungen. Gestalten. Erinnerungen. Mit 31 Dichterporträts von Künstlern der Zeit. Wien, München, Basel, Verlag Kurt Desch. 410 p.

Eleusis, D. von. Kurt Pinthus auf Abwegen. URL: (mode of access: 15.12.2020). Gedichte der Menschheitsdämmerung. (1971). Interpretationen expressionistischer Lyrik. Mit einer Einleitung von K. Pinthus. Ed. by H. Denkler. München, Fink Verlag. 333 p.

Illies, F. (2019). Eine Vergangenheit, die kommen wird. Einhundert Jahre Menschheitsdämmerung. In Menschheitsdämmerung. Symphonie jüngster Dichtung. Ed. by K. Pinthus. Neuauflage. Mit einem Nachwort von Florian Illies. Hamburg, Ernst Rowohlt Verlag, pp. 407–417.

Lohner, E. (1956). Die Lyrik des Expressionismus. In Friedmann, H., Mann, O. (Eds.). Expressionismus. Gestalten einer literarischen Bewegung. Heidelberg, W. Rothe Verlag, pp. 57–83.

Menschheitsdämmerung. (1996). Ein Dokument des Expressionismus. Mit Biographien und Bibliographien neu herausgegeben von Kurt Pinthus. Berlin, Rowohlt Verlag. 384 p.

Pinthus, K. (1996). Nach 40 Jahren; Zuvor; Nachklang. In Menschheitsdämmerung. Ein Dokument des Expressionismus. Mit Biographien und Bibliographien neu herausgegeben von Kurt Pinthus. Berlin, Rowohlt Verlag. pp. 7–35.

Paulsen, W. (1998). Deutsche Literatur des Expressionismus. Mit Geleitwort von H. Denkler. 2nd ed. rept. Berlin, WEIDLER Buchverlag. 268 p.

Nimbus des Neuanfangs. 100 Jahre «Menschheitsdämmerung». URL: (mode of access: 21.09.2020).