About the author: Dr. James Jordan is Senior Lecturer in German Studies in Nottingham Trent University, England. As well as publishing on Ernst Toller’s war poetry for Oxford German Studies and the Ernst-Toller-Gesellschaft, he has co-edited a volume on Minorities in German-speaking countries: aspects of social and cultural experience (Modern German Studies, vol. 2, London: CILT, 2000).2001 0-7734-7681-4
Known primarily for his dramas, Toller also published several collections of poetry. This edition contains 40 poems from three manuscript archives in Germany and represents Toller’s entire unpublished poetic oeuvre. The poems cover Toller’s life from 1909 to his imprisonment (1919-1924, from his involvement in the Munich Councils Republic), along with some written after his imprisonment. Earliest poems document an intense love affair from his adolescence which preoccupied him until his participation in the First World War. Another group charts his initial enthusiasm for the war, growing moral doubts, and final rejection. The brutality and degradation of life as a political prisoner in the Weimar Republic is described graphically. This collection provides unique insights into Toller’s early life and his development as writer and political figure. Each poem is provided with a prose translation, making the edition accessible to non-specialists. The commentaries place the poems in context, provide explanations of specific biographical references.