Die deutsche Dichtung der Gegenwart: Die Alten und die Jungen (“Contemporary German Poetry: The Old and the Young”) is a book first published in 1897. This is the “third, improved edition” published by Eduard Avenarius, Leipzig in 1900. It was written by Adolf Bartels (1862–1945), whose history of German literature –
was marked by racist evaluations and rabid antisemitism; it became a pioneering work for National Socialist literary reviews. According to Bartels, even authors whose names sounded Jewish, who wrote for the “Jewish press”, or who were friendly with Jews were “contaminated with Jewishness”. The noblest task of völkisch cultural policy would therefore be a radical de-Jewing of the arts, and thus the “salvation of National Socialist Germany”.
The cover design doesn’t give away the vile antisemitism of the content. It looks like many other German books published in this period, featuring the typical elements of the Jugendstil period, with borders and ornaments, depicting owls (symbolizing wisdom) and flowers. The typeface is one of the many German copies of Bradley, originally designed by Herman Ihlenburg based on lettering by Will H. Bradley and produced by ATF in 1895. Several foundries in German-speaking countries named their version Amerikanische Altgotisch (“American Old Gothic”), acknowledging the design’s geographic origin. Others including Berthold in Berlin and Haas in Switzerland dropped the adjective and simply called it Altgotisch. Here it’s shown embossed in gold, with a period after each line, and dots to justify shorter ones. The publisher’s credit is set with descending capitals.