Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

STEFAN   GEORGE   AND   HIS   CIRCLE                14!

slave of woman. Their gospel was the Mutterrecht (i 861) of Johann
Jakob Bachofen, who sees in the 'raging rapture and ordering
motherly care? of woman the principle of the organic; and from
this gynaecocracy they evolved a new cosmic philosophy (whence
they are called, in the relevant literature, 'die Koswiker) in which
Eros is female. It seemed possible that George might be deposed
from leadership of the Circle because of his 'Personenkulf, that is,
his cultus of male friends; and in any case this cult of the female
in all her primeval superiority was bound to be anathema to a
declared gynophobe like George. His lambs (including Gundolf)
returned to the fold when he asserted his authority; and it is pos-
sible that the production of his God was not precipitated by this
crisis; what is certain, however, is that Maximin restored his peace
of mind. In Maximin he found the realization of his dream and
the fulfilment of his religion: body made God and God made
body. Having the spiritual idea of the God he demanded its visual
perception. (As some of the schoolmen reasoned: the idea of a
thing can only exist if the thing itself exists.) Thus he created
God. Gundolf interpreting says that male beauty (Eros) excites
the spiritual desire of procreation just as the beautiful female
(Aphrodite) excites the physical desire of procreation. Only the
Greeks1 and the Germans, he adds, have deified beautiful youths,
because these inspire to heroic deeds and spiritual creativeness.

Maximin as the new God appears in Dersiebente 'RJng (1907-11).
The book falls into seven parts, each with poems to a multiple of
seven - a holy number. The central part is Maximin; and round
the revelation of divinity in this central part revolve the poems of
the other three parts on each side, the central idea being to show
the existence of divine beauty in a world which had seemed deser-
ted by God. Since God is revealed in the beautiful body of man,
man is divine; and divine too is the world in which man appears
as God; therefore we must animate all things with the divine
essence which is thus proved to be on earth, and thus we shall
prepare the fnew life5.

1 Ernst Morwitz - whose book on George is the clearest and most sensible
there is - points out *dass die Griecben an einem mederkebrenden Fesf die Gestalt
des A.poll in einem Knaben verkorpert sahen, ihn durch das Land sandten und das
Gebeimnis der noch alle lebendigen Keime umschliessenden ]ugendform dadurch feierten^
dass sie ihn wahrend seines Um^uges als den Gott selbst anbeteten. Den Sinn dieses
Er/ebnisses sitcht der Dichter in den Versen *A.uf das Leben und den Tod Maximins*
von verschzedenen Sichtwink&ln aus ^itfa