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By Melissa S. Lane, Martin A. Ruehl

The poet Stefan George (1868-1933) used to be some of the most vital cultural figures in sleek Germany. His poetry, in its originality and influence, has been ranked with that of Goethe, Hölderlin, or Rilke. but George's succeed in prolonged a long way 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 existence and sought to remodel it into fact. The works and regarded the circle profoundly affected the highbrow and cultural attitudes of Germany's expert center classification from the start of the 20th century, and are hence an 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 in the course of 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 cognizance in English-language scholarship formerly. This quantity comprises 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. 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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2 Maximilian Kronberger also expressed misgivings, even if he failed to register the homoerotic nature of the relationship. Hugo von Hofmannsthal, however, recognized George’s attentions for what they partly were, though a word for the proclivity did not emerge in correspondence. Until recently, homoeroticism received scant attention from George scholars; where it appears, George’s desire is seen more as a function of his relationships within the Circle, less as an element of self-identification.

In der kunst glauben wir an eine glänzende Wiedergeburt” (B, 1:1). The initial impact of this appeal was quite limited, particularly in Germany, and in January 1896 George reiterated his program, elaborating on the notion of cultural renewal: “Einfach liegt was wir teils erstrebten teils verewigten: eine kunst frei von jedem dienst: über dem leben nachdem sie das leben durchdrungen hat” (B, 3:1). While espous- THE GEORGE CIRCLE 27 ing the classic aestheticist doctrine of l’art pour l’art (“eine kunst frei von jedem dienst”), George still implied that art could and should not be remote from life.

Johann Anton, Julius Landmann, and Friedrich Wolters had died. Some of his closest disciples, in particular Friedrich Gundolf and Max Kommerell, had parted ways with him. Political disputes between Jewish and gentile members, supporters and opponents of National Socialism, caused deep rifts within the Circle in 1932 and 1933. Some of the youngest associates, representatives of the third generation of disciples, now moved center stage, as they looked after their increasingly frail Master on his last travels.

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