This Festschrift for Ronald Speirs, Professor of German at the University of Birmingham, contains twenty-four original essays by scholars from Great Britain, Germany, Austria, and Norway. Between them they encompass the entire modern period from the later eighteenth century onwards, and focus on a wide range of German-speaking environments. Several essays throw new light on authors to whom Professor Speirs himself has devoted particular attention (such as Brecht, Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, and Fontane), whilst others discuss writers such as Lenz, Büchner, Böhlau, C. F. Meyer, Keyserling, Jahnn, and Huch. Above all, however, the contributions address the complexities of writing in ideologically diverse contexts, including the Third Reich and the former German Democratic Republic. This interplay between text and context is the cornerstone which links all the essays, as it has consistently informed Ronald Speirs’s own work – which combines a scrupulous attention to textual detail with an acute awareness of the socio-political milieux and philosophical influences that shape creative literature.