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German literature comprises those literary texts written in the German language.

This includes literature written in Germany, Austria, the German parts of Belgium and Switzerland, Liechtenstein, South Tyrol in Italy and to a lesser extent works of the German diaspora.

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The Sensibility movement of the 1750s-1770's ended with Goethe's best-selling Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774).

The Sturm und Drang and Weimar Classicism movements were led by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller.

These are written in rhyming couplets, and again draw on French models such as Chrétien de Troyes, many of them relating Arthurian material, for example, Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach.

The third literary movement of these years was a new revamping of the heroic tradition, in which the ancient Germanic oral tradition can still be discerned, but tamed and Christianized and adapted for the court.

German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Biedermeier refers to the literature, music, the visual arts and interior design in the period between the years 1815 (Vienna Congress), the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and 1848, the year of the European revolutions.Middle High German proper runs from the beginning of the 12th century, and in the second half of the 12th century, there was a sudden intensification of activity, leading to a 60-year "golden age" of medieval German literature referred to as the mittelhochdeutsche Blütezeit (1170–1230).This was the period of the blossoming of MHG lyric poetry, particularly Minnesang (the German variety of the originally French tradition of courtly love).These high medieval heroic epics are written in rhymed strophes, not the alliterative verse of Germanic prehistory (for example, the Nibelungenlied).The Middle High German period is conventionally taken to end in 1350, while the Early New High German is taken to begin with the German Renaissance, after the invention of movable type in the mid-15th century.One of the most important of these poets was Walther von der Vogelweide.

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