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Book Review

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Calvin Jones's book is an ambitious attempt to combine synopsis and critical analysis in a survey of over ninety years of international Else Lasker-Schüler criticism. Although Hones is careful to point out that his is a selective rather than comprehensive review, he covers a considerable amount of material over the course of six chronologically organized chapters. In his preface Jones is particularly critical of early reviewers and scholars who allowed themselves to be influenced by the poet's self-representation rather than forming their own judgments and notes the tendency in much of the criticism, both past and present, to conflate the writer's life and her art. What is needed, he argues, is an academic criticism that transcends both the biographical fascination and the rigid categorization of much of the existing literature and which achieves a balance between an appreciation for the poet's diversity and a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of her work. Jones's survey differs from previous reception studies in its breadth, in its simultaneously diachronic and synchronic investigation of developments in Lasker-Schüler criticism, and is the first book of its kind on Else Lasker-Schüler in English.

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Copyright © 1995 University of Kentucky. This article first appeared in Colloquia Germanica 28:2 (1995), 180-182.

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