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 some of the most very important cultural figures in smooth Germany. His poetry, in its originality and influence, has been ranked with that of Goethe, Hölderlin, or Rilke. but George's succeed in prolonged some distance past the field of literature. in the course of his final 3 many years, he attracted a circle of disciples who subscribed to his homoerotic and aestheticist imaginative and prescient of existence and sought to remodel it into truth. The works and regarded the circle profoundly affected the highbrow and cultural attitudes of Germany's expert heart classification from the start of the 20th century, and are hence the most 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 lots of its contributors 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 got little recognition in English-language scholarship earlier. This quantity comprises contributions from significant students in either English- and German-speaking international locations. Its viewers contains students and scholars of German languages and literature, German background, and reception of the classics, between different fields. individuals: 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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Jens Rieckmann has argued that Hofmannsthal and George enacted a homoerotic drama of class, stressing the extent to which George’s unabashed homoeroticism was an affront to bourgeois convention, in close keeping with the poet’s consciously antibourgeois posturing. 12 While this interpretation makes sense in terms of STEFAN GEORGE’S HOMOEROTIC ERLÖSUNGSRELIGION, 1891–1907 39 the way Hofmannsthal remembered the episode in later life, it does not quite fit the evidence detailing the first encounter.

One of the standard works on the history of German literature, the Deutsche Literaturgeschichte, describes George as an unpolitical poet. , Deutsche Literaturgeschichte. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, 6th ed. (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 2001), 328. 72 It was Friedrich Wolters who first used the label “staat” to describe the Circle and its structures, obviously alluding to Plato’s Republic which in the German translation is called Der Staat: see Norton, Secret Germany, 349. 73 Karlauf, Stefan George, 336.

In the eyes of his followers, the Master represented the model of a supreme being. A lot of the activities within the Circle — the elaborate soirées, pageants and cultic gatherings in Heidelberg, Marburg and, later on, in Berlin — amounted to attempts to enact the beautiful life. There were other activities, more or less ritualized, such as walks, joint travel, communal readings. Particular styles of attire, posture and speech indicated adherence to this higher way of life. “Das schöne Leben” was also a theme in the scholarly writings produced by members of the Circle.

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