A Poet's Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle by Melissa S. Lane, Martin A. Ruehl

By Melissa S. Lane, Martin A. Ruehl

The poet Stefan George (1868-1933) used to be probably the most very important cultural figures in smooth Germany. His poetry, in its originality and impression, has been ranked with that of Goethe, Hölderlin, or Rilke. but George's achieve prolonged some distance past the field of literature. in the course of his final 3 a long time, he attracted a circle of disciples who subscribed to his homoerotic and aestheticist imaginative and prescient of existence and sought to remodel it into fact. The works and considered the circle profoundly affected the highbrow and cultural attitudes of Germany's knowledgeable center type from the start of the 20 th century, and are therefore an important to Germany's cultural and highbrow heritage. The transition from the aestheticist, cosmopolitan values the circle embraced within the early 1900s to the extra explicitly political and patriotic perspectives a lot of its participants espoused in the course of the Weimar Republic either conditioned and mirrored a momentous transformation in German concept. The intersection of tradition and politics within the George Circle has obtained little awareness in English-language scholarship before. This quantity contains contributions from significant students in either English- and German-speaking international locations. Its viewers comprises students and scholars of German languages and literature, German heritage, and reception of the classics, between different fields. members: Adam Bisno, Richard Faber, Rüdiger Görner, Peter Hoffmann, Thomas Karlauf, Melissa S. Lane, Robert E. Lerner, David Midgley, Robert E. Norton, Ray Ockenden, Ute Oelmann, Martin A. Ruehl, Bertram Schefold.

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49 Wolters, Stefan George, 440. 50 He was disappointed, however, by Austria’s failure to “Germanize” Bohemia and complained: “Heute würde nun an allen Enden versucht, vom Deutschtum abzubröckeln. Von überall kröchen die fremden Völker hinein”: Vallentin, Gespräche mit Stefan George, 64, citing George (8 February, 1922). 51 GA, 9:33. See Landfried, Stefan George, 219–21. 52 “Nur wenn die gelben Affen kommen,” George remarked to Karl Wolfskehl during the First World War, “dann nehme ich selbst die Flinte” (Salin, Um Stefan George, 260).

The Circle also associated the Stauffenberg brothers with the Hohenstaufen dynasty of the Middle Ages. See Peter Hoffmann, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg und seine Brüder (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1992), 52 and 61. 33 Stefan Breuer, Ästhetischer Fundamentalismus: Stefan George und der deutsche Antimodernismus (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1995), 73–77, notes that George, unlike most of his disciples, condemned the First World War from the start and saw nothing regenerative or redemptive in it.

The second episode is the discovery and deification of Maximilian “Maximin” Kronberger in the first decade of the twentieth century. That encounter reflected the lessons George had learned with Hofmannsthal, as well as the new significance that George’s sexuality had assumed. In the year after Kronberger’s death, the application of philhellenism, male supremacism, and elitism to a new religion of redemption came to define George’s homoeroticism. Through his person, George offered salvation to a society he believed to have grown cold and dead.

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