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 major, albeit arguable and provocative position in German cultural background. it truly is typically agreed that he performed an important half within the transition of German literature to Modernism, relatively in poetry. even as he was once an outspoken critic of modernity. He believed that purely an all-encompassing cultural renewal may possibly retailer sleek guy. even supposing George is frequently associated with the l'art pour l'art stream, and even though his inventive realization used to be shaped by means of ecu aestheticism, his poetry and the writings that emerged from the poets and intellectuals he accrued round him within the George Circle are certainly 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 assumption 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 means of an highbrow and aesthetic elite together 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 through 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 aid his recognition that once the second one global battle a lot of the feedback of his works was once practiced through uncritical, hagiographic George worshippers. in recent times, although, 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 info for A Companion to the Works of Stefan George (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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Stuttgart: Metzler, 1972. Woods, Gregory. A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition. New Haven/ London: Yale UP, 1998. Zeller, Bernhard, ed. N. Munich: Kösel Verlag, 1968. The Poetry Stefan George’s Poetics William Waters “ W IR HALTEN ES FÜR EINEN VORTEIL,” observes the first issue (1892) of George’s journal Blätter für die Kunst, “dass wir nicht mit lehrsätzen beginnen sondern mit werken die unser wollen behellen und an denen man später die regeln ableite” (Einleitungen 7). The advantage has been imperfectly maintained.

The poem’s careful pairing of elements across the two stanzas serves, in each case, to emphasize the excess. “Aus kühlem eisen” is answered not merely by warmth, but by the fire of “aus feuerrotem golde”; and “glatter fester streif ” contrasts in pointed alliteration with “grosse fremde dolde,” transforming smoothness into obtrusive size, solidity into alienness, and the strip of metal into not just a flower, but an umbel (a composite, umbrella-shaped flower cluster). Instead of being cast (4), the clasp will now be wrought (7).

Especially in the context of biographical interpretations of “Die Spange,” this question has generated several proposed solutions. ” Others have suggested that the German language seemed unfit to him, corrupted by his era and more suited to showy decadence than to noble simplicity. In a third view, George is saying that his cultural surroundings in Germany prevented him from adopting a simple, straightforward aesthetic, since to value a plain style requires a sophistication that (George felt) German letters lacked.

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