The four works collected in this volume reveal the fascinating preoccupations of the German Romantic movement, which revelled in the inexplicable, the uncanny and the unknown and, especially, the mysterious world of the fairy tale. Goethe's richly imaginative Fairy Tale (1795) depicts an ethereal underground realm and the marriage of a beautiful man and woman, whose union heralds a new age. In Tieck's Eckbert the Fair (1797) two outsiders seek refuge in the solitude of dark woods to conceal their incestuous passion from the world, while in Fouque's Undine (1811) a water nymph falls in love and acquires a soul, and so discovers the reality of human suffering. And Brentano's Tale of Honest Casper and Fair Annie (1817) portrays the tragedy of a young couple, destroyed by a false sense of honour and pride.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): author of the poetic drama, Faust, and novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853): Romantic and later Realist writer, translator of Cervantes and Shakespeare. Friedrich de la Motte Fouque (1777-1843): prolific writer and most widely read of Romantics. Clemens Brentano (1778-1842): part of younger generation of Romantics, later abandonned writing for Catholic faith. Carol Tully: Lecturer in German at the University of Wales, Bangor.