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History of Germany, Week 8 Teutonic Cultural Pessimism.

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Presentation on theme: "History of Germany, Week 8 Teutonic Cultural Pessimism."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of Germany, Week 8 Teutonic Cultural Pessimism

2 Eliass Kultur/Zivilisation antithesis Civilisation French Artificial Aristocratic Courtesy Anglo-Saxon Mass Society Political Superficiality Culture German Natural Middle-class Virtue German Individual Community Artistic Inwardness Norbert Elias, The Civilising Process (1939/60)

3 Immanuel Kant, , philosopher Rationality as means of self-determination (Bildung) Idealism (only reality is that of mental states) Phenomenology: can only perceive world of appearances

4 Romanticism Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, , writer The Passions of Young Werther (1774): love affair leading to suicide Cult of individualism and emotionality Sturm und Drang (storm and stress)

5 Romanticism and Nature Caspar David Friedrich, , painter Symbolic interior landscapes Religious mysticism & pantheism (cathedrals of nature) Quest for sublime & infinite Emotion of viewer

6 Caspar David Friedrich Cross in the Mountains, 1812 Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818

7 Romanticism and Music Richard Wagner, , operatic composer Gesamtkunstwerk: music, stage effects in The Ring of the Nibelungen, 1876 Chromatic overlayering of harmony to create emotional wall of sound Teutonic myths of Siegfried Anti-industrialism Anti-semitism in political writings

8 Stefan George Stefan George, , poet Aestheticist poet believing in art for arts sake Symbolist poetry espouses aristocracy & self-sacrifice Main symbols of stone or unnatural (the black flower) connote death & sacred Artist as elite of new society Made into posthumous Nazi national poet

9 Stefan George, Algabal, 1892 Mein garten bedarf nicht luft und nicht wärme Der garten den ich mir selber erbaut Und seiner vögel leblose schwärme Haben noch nie einen frühling geschaut. Von kohle die stämme, von kohle die äste Und düstere felder am düsteren rain Der früchte nimmer gebrochene läste Glänzen wie lava im pinien-hain. Ein grauer schein aus verborgener höhle Verrät nicht wann morgen wann abend naht Und staubige dünste der mandel-öle Schweben auf beeten und anger und saat. Wie zeug ich dich aber im heiligtume So fragt ich wenn ich es sinnend durchmass In kühnen gespinsten der sorge vergass Dunkle grosse schwarze blume? My garden needs not air nor warmth The garden which I built myself And its lifeless flights of birds Have never seen a spring. Of coal the trunks, of coal the branches And dark fields on the dark margin Of burdens never breaking fruit Glitter like lava in the pine grove. A grey glow from hidden cave Hints not when morn, nor evening draws nigh And dusty wreaths of almond oils Hang on flowerbeds and common and seed. How do I grow you in the sanctuary - So I asked when I paced it out in thought Forgetting in bold cocoons of care - Great dark black flower?

10 Arthur Schopenhauer, , philosopher The World as Will and Idea, 1818 Humans part of cosmic, evil will Main driving force in mankind will to life

11 Ludwig Feuerbach, , philosopher The Essence of Christianity, 1841 Divinity as social, human construct God outward projection of human consciousness

12 Friedrich Nietzsche, , philosopher Classical philologist Medical metaphors of sick civilisation Attacks Christian morality of meekness Supports aristocratic values of power Will to power Thus Spake Zarathustra,

13 Thoughts Out of Season, Nietzsche attacks cultural philistines Journalism Democratic politics Genealogy of Morals Deconstruction of language Perspectivism Existence as becoming rather than being

14 Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, 1873 Apollo God of music, art & order Rationality Dionysos God of chaos, dance & drinking

15 Paul Anton de Lagarde, , theologist German Writings, God has destiny for each nation Germanic nation modelled on family & artisans Germanic religion with pagan overtones (Christianity too Judaic)

16 Julius Langbehn, , art critic Rembrandt as Educator, 1890 Rembrandt as honorary German Germanic art folk art in touch with Volk Artistic truth more significant than scientific

17 Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, , literary critic The Third Reich, 1923 Rise of young nations (Germany, Russia) against enfeebled older nations (France, Britain) `Culture is of the spirit and civilisation of the stomach

18 Oswald Spengler, , cultural critic Decline of the West, 1918 Cyclical view of history "high cultures": Indian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, Mayan-Aztec, Arabian, Greece & Rome, Euro-Western

19 Spengler The prime symbol of Western culture is the "Faustian Soul" (from the tale of Doctor Faustus), symbolizing the upward reaching for nothing less than the "Infinite." This is basically a tragic symbol, for it reaches for what even the reacher knows is unreachable. It is exemplified, for instance, by Gothic architecture (especially the interiors of Gothic cathedrals, with their vertical lines and seeming "ceilinglessness"). High Cultures are "living" things -- organic in nature -- and must pass through the stages of birth-development-fulfillment-decay-death. Hence a "morphology" of history. All previous cultures have passed through these distinct stages, and Western culture can be no exception. In fact, its present stage in the organic development-process can be pinpointed. The high-water mark of a High Culture is its phase of fulfillment -- called the "culture" phase. The beginning of decline and decay in a Culture is the transition point between its "culture" phase and the "civilization" phase that inevitably follows. Civilisation witnesses descent into mammon and democracy

20 Thomas Mann, , novelist Buddenbrooks, 1901: bourgeois family decaying Death in Venice, 1912: cholera epidemic as metaphor for decline Magic Mountain, 1924: set in sanatorium

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