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) was once essentially the most very important cultural figures in smooth Germany. His poetry, in its originality and effect, has been ranked with that of Goethe, Hölderlin, or Rilke. but George's achieve prolonged a ways past the sector 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 lifestyles and sought to remodel it into truth. The works and considered the circle profoundly affected the highbrow and cultural attitudes of Germany's informed heart category from the start of the 20th century, and are therefore the most important to Germany's cultural and highbrow background. 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 throughout the Weimar Republic either conditioned and mirrored a momentous transformation in German notion. The intersection of tradition and politics within the George Circle has acquired little realization in English-language scholarship formerly. This quantity contains contributions from significant students in either English- and German-speaking nations. Its viewers comprises students and scholars of German languages and literature, German heritage, 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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After George’s death, the intricate network of friendships and associations that constituted his Circle collapsed with surprising speed. Some of his most cherished disciples, including Claus and Berthold von Stauffenberg, as well as Frank Mehnert, were killed. Many of the Jewish followers, among them Karl Wolfskehl and Ernst Kantorowicz, emigrated. Even after its transformation from Künstlergesellschaft to Lebensgemeinschaft, the Circle was centered and dependent on its charismatic leader. 24 THE GEORGE CIRCLE 35 Notes 1 This essay is a thoroughly revised and expanded version of Ute Oelmann, “Der George-Kreis: Von der Künstlergesellschaft zur Lebensgemeinschaft,” in Die Lebensreform.

8 A fin-de-siècle discourse on homoeroticism circumscribed George’s thought and the Circle’s self-understandings in this period. To the historian, this discourse provides a useful context for the development of George’s aesthetics and politics — a context often overlooked in recent accounts, even if it was all too apparent to George’s contemporaries. Reaching back into the fin de siècle, it is possible to see the twists and turns that brought George to his distinctive, though not necessarily original homoeroticism.

The Jewish Ullstein family owned one of the biggest publishing houses of Europe and ran some of the leading liberal newspapers in Germany before 1933. Ernst Kantorowicz made a similarly acerbic remark about the cosmopolitanism of “Ullstein-Deutschland” in his 1930 speech at Halle. See Ernst Kantorowicz, “Grenzen, Möglichkeiten und Aufgaben der Darstellung mittelalterlicher Geschichte,” ed. Eckhart Grünewald, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters l (1994):104–25; here, 121. Note that George defended the antisemitic contents of Wolters’s book against Edith Landmann’s objections: “Nein, aber alles, was recht ist: alles kann man von Euch [the Jews] doch auch nicht loben” (E.

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