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- DescriptionThis is the second volume in a trilogy in which Stefan Zweig builds a composite picture of the European mind through intellectual portraits selected from among its most representative and influential figures. In 'Hoelderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche', Zweig concentrates on three giants of German literature to portray the artist and thinker as a figure possessed by a powerful inner vision at odds with the materialism and scientific positivism of his time, in this case, the nineteenth century. Zweig's subjects here are respectively a lyric poet, a dramatist and writer of vellas, and a philosopher. Each led an unstable life ending in madness and/or suicide and t until the twentieth century did each make their full impact. Whereas the nineteenth-century vel is socially capacious in terms of subject and audience, the three figures treated here are prophets or forerunners of modernist ideas of alienation and exile. Hoelderlin and Kleist consciously opposed the worldly harmoniousness of Goethe's classicism in favor of a visionary inwardness and dramatisation of the subjective psyche. Nietzsche set himself as a destroyer and rebuilder of philosophy and critic of the degradation of the German spirit through nationalism and militarism. Zweig's choice of subjects reflects a division in his own soul. The image of Goethe recurs here as the ultimate upholder of Zweig's own ideals: scientist and artist, receptive to world culture, supremely rational and prudent. Yet Zweig was aware that Hoelderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche were more daring explorers of the dangerous and destructive aspects of man that needed to be seen and comprehended in the clarifying light of poetry and philosophy.
- Author(s)Stefan Zweig
- PublisherTaylor & Francis Inc
- Date of Publication15/09/2010
- SubjectPopular Culture & Media: General Interest
- Series TitleMaster Builders of the Spirit
- Series Part/Volume Numberv. 2
- Place of PublicationSomerset
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintTransaction Publishers
- Introduction byLaurence Mintz
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