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 a big, albeit debatable and provocative function in German cultural historical past. it truly is commonly agreed that he performed an important half within the transition of German literature to Modernism, relatively in poetry. even as he used to be an outspoken critic of modernity. He believed that simply an all-encompassing cultural renewal may store sleek guy. even supposing George is frequently associated with the l'art pour l'art stream, and even though his inventive attention was once shaped through eu aestheticism, his poetry and the writings that emerged from the poets and intellectuals he amassed round him within the George Circle are specially a scathing observation at the political, social, and cultural state of affairs in Germany on the flip of the century. George, who used to be 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 by way of an highbrow and aesthetic elite which includes males who have been bonded jointly via their allegiance to a charismatic chief. the various values that George proclaimed, between them a glorification of strength, of heroism and self-sacrifice, have been seized upon through the nationwide Socialists, and to that end his writings and people of his circle have been thought of via a few to be proto-fascist. It didn't support his popularity that when the second one international battle a lot of the feedback of his works was once practiced via uncritical, hagiographic George worshippers.
In fresh years, besides the fact that, there was a renewed and impartial 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 value as a cultural critic.
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Extra resources for A Companion to the Works of Stefan George
Düsseldorf: Küpper vormals Georg Bondi, 1964. George, Stefan, and Ida Coblenz. Briefwechsel. Eds. Georg Peter Landmann and Elisabeth Höpker-Herberg. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1983. 22 JENS RIECKMANN Glöckner, Ernst. Begegnung mit Stefan George: Auszüge aus Briefen und Tagebüchern, 1913–1934. Ed. Friedrich Adam. Heidelberg: Lothar Stiehm, 1972. Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. Sämtliche Werke. Vol. 31. Ed. Ellen Ritter. : S. Fischer, 1991. Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, und Rudolf Pannwitz. Briefwechsel 1907–1926.
His translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets and parts of Dante’s Commedia formed an integral part of his cultural-political work. On the eve of the First World War he published his penultimate collection of poetry Der Stern des Bundes. The Bund of the title refers to George’s Kreis and the volume is addressed primarily to it. ” George’s explanation for why he nevertheless published it (“dass ein verborgen-halten von einmal ausgesprochenem heut kaum mehr möglich ist” [1: 347]) strikes one as farfetched and may once again reveal his desire to be considered the spokesperson for an exclusive elite even as he sought broader public appeal.
6 Quoted in Franz Schonauer. Stefan George mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1992), 12. 7 The homoerotic constellations in the poem were first pointed out by Marita Keilson-Lauritz, Von der Liebe die Freundschaft heißt. Zur Homoerotik im Werk Stefan Georges. (Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1987), 67, 79. 8 Quoted in Guido Glur. Kunstlehre und Kunstanschauung des Georgekreises und die Aesthetik Oscar Wildes. (Bern: Paul Haupt, 1957), 16. 9 See Marita Keilson-Lauritz, Von der Liebe, 75–82 and passim.
A Companion to the Works of Stefan George by Jens Rieckmann