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Weimar ThoughtA Contested Legacy$
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Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691135106

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691135106.001.0001

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Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry

Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry

Stefan George and his Circle, 1918–1933

(p.240) 12 Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry
Weimar Thought

Martin A. Ruehl

Princeton University Press

This chapter takes a historical journey into the George-Kreis or George Circle, the mysterious coterie of followers that surrounded the poet and political visionary Stefan George. His many acolytes included Karl Wolfskehl, Ernst Bertram, and the historian Ernst Kantorowicz. The Circle saw itself not just as a counter-cultural, but also as a “counter-intellectual” movement, in radical opposition to the “official” Zeitgeist of Wilhelmine Germany. Even before the First World War, members of the Circle had voiced their critical distance to contemporary academic scholarship, their different educational ideals, and their hope for comprehensive spiritual renewal. It was only in the Weimar period, however, when George became an iconic figure and his disciples played a more prominent role in public debates, that the ideas and ideals of the Circle came to have a palpable effect in German intellectual life.

Keywords:   Stefan George, poets, George-Kreis, George Circle, Weimar Republic, Karl Wolfskehl, Ernst Bertram, Ernst Kantorowicz

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