By Jens Rieckmann
Stefan George (1868-1933) is besides Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Rainer Maria Rilke one of many pre-eminent German poets of the 20th century. He additionally had an enormous, albeit debatable and provocative position in German cultural background. it really is regularly agreed that he performed an important half within the transition of German literature to Modernism, fairly in poetry. whilst he used to be an outspoken critic of modernity. He believed that simply an all-encompassing cultural renewal may perhaps retailer smooth guy. even if George is frequently associated with the l'art pour l'art stream, and even supposing his inventive realization used to be shaped by means of eu aestheticism, his poetry and the writings that emerged from the poets and intellectuals he amassed round him within the George Circle are specifically a scathing observation at the political, social, and cultural scenario in Germany on the flip of the century. George, who was once imbued with the belief of the poet as a prophet and priest, observed himself because the Messiah of a brand new Hellenism and a brand new Reich led through an highbrow and aesthetic elite along with males who have been bonded jointly via their allegiance to a charismatic chief. a few of the values that George proclaimed, between them a glorification of strength, of heroism and self-sacrifice, have been seized upon by means of the nationwide Socialists, and for this reason his writings and people of his circle have been thought of by way of a few to be proto-fascist. It didn't support his popularity that once the second one international struggle a lot of the feedback of his works was once practiced through uncritical, hagiographic George worshippers.
In contemporary years, in spite of the fact that, there was a renewed and independent curiosity between students and critics in George and his circle. The wide-ranging and unique essays during this quantity discover anew George's poetry and his contribution to Modernism, the relation among his imaginative and prescient of a brand new Reich and fascist ideology, and his significance as a cultural critic.
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Extra resources for A Companion to the Works of Stefan George
Initially, the German fascists seized upon some of the themes George articulated in his later works, particularly in Der Stern des Bundes and Das Neue Reich, among them a glorification of heroism, selfsacrifice, and the envisioning of a leader who would restore the “Secret Germany,” for the present Germany had almost succumbed to the onslaught of modernity. Subsequently George’s writings and those of his circle were considered to be protofascist by some, most notably by Georg Lukács, who saw in George an ideological precursor of Hitler (34), a view apparently shared by George’s recent biographer Norton.
Structurally too the second stanza shows an “excess” over the first: the “wie” comparison of a single line (2) is met by a “wie” comparison of three lines (6–8). ” Blitzend becomes a second, additional answer to kühl, though the compound feuerrot in itself already answered one image (coolness) with two (heat and color). ” This excess charge comes across as defiantly, or at least unabashedly, transgressive. The poet’s choice is gaudy and of reduced usefulness; it draws attention to its own immoderacy and artificiality.
Stefan Georges Publikationspolitik: Buchkonzeption und verlegerisches Engagement. Munich/New York/London/Paris: Saur, 1979. Norton, Robert E. Secret Germany: Stefan George and His Circle. Ithaca/London: Cornell UP, 2002. Petrow, Michael. Der Dichter als Führer? ” Marburg: Tectum, 1995. Roos, Martin. Stefan Georges Rhetorik der Selbstinszenierung. Düsseldorf: Grupello Verlag, 2000. , R[aymond]. C[urtis]. Ockenden, and M[arita]. Keilson[-Lauritz]. Stefan George / Leben und Werk. Eine Zeittafel. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini, 1972.