The Death of Expressionism Yvan Goll (1891–1950)

Robert Vilain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Yvan Goll briefly joined the Expressionist circles in Berlin in 1914 before moving to Switzerland during the war. Early Expressionist poetry (beginning with ‘Films’ in 1914 and including contributions to ‘Menschheitsdämmerung’) reflects the fragmented state of modern life and nostalgia for a more certain and harmonious past. ‘Der Torso’ (1918) conveys his ambivalent attitude to Expressionism, showing some Nietzschean influence and an almost Romantic attachment to nature. Other poems express Goll’s pacifism and a social conscience, especially the ‘underclass’ in ‘Die Unterwelt’ (1919). Associated programmatic essays, ending with the proclamation of its death in 1921, highlight a strong underlying scepticism about the Expressionist project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
JournalOxford German Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • First World War
  • Yvan Goll
  • classical world
  • reception
  • social criticism


Dive into the research topics of 'The Death of Expressionism Yvan Goll (1891–1950)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this