George, Stefan

George, Stefan
born July 12, 1868, Büdesheim, near Bingen, Hesse
died Dec. 4, 1933, Minusio, near Locarno, Switz.

German poet.

George traveled widely, becoming associated with Stéphane Mallarmé and the Symbolist movement in Paris and the Pre-Raphaelites in London. Returning to Germany, he edited the journal Blätter fur die Kunst (1892–1919) and became the centre of the "George Circle," gathering young poets around him in a close-knit aesthetic band. His collections include Hymnen (1890), Das Jahr der Seele (1897), Der siebente Ring (1907), and Der Stern des Bundes (1914). A supporter of "pure poetry," he opposed not only the debasement of the language but also materialism and naturalism. Though politically conservative, he turned down Nazi offers of money and honours, preferring exile. His collected works include translations of Dante and William Shakespeare (the sonnets) as well as prose sketches.

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▪ German author
born July 12, 1868, Büdesheim, near Bingen, Hesse [Germany]
died Dec. 4, 1933, Minusio, near Locarno, Switz.

      lyric poet responsible in part for the emergence of Aestheticism in German poetry at the close of the 19th century.

      After attending a Gymnasium in Darmstadt, George traveled to England, Switzerland, and France. He studied philosophy and the history of art in Paris, becoming associated with the poet Stéphane Mallarmé (Mallarmé, Stéphane) and others in the Symbolist movement. Returning to Germany, where he divided his time between Berlin, Munich, and Heidelberg, he founded a literary school of his own, the George-Kreis, held together by the force of his personality. Many well-known writers (e.g., Friedrich Gundolf, Karl Wolfskehl, and Georg Simmel (Simmel, Georg)) belonged to it or contributed to its journal, Blätter für die Kunst, published from 1892 to 1919. The chief aim of the journal was to revitalize the German literary language.

      George aimed for new aesthetic forms in German poetry, avoiding impure rhymes and metrical irregularities. Vowels and consonants were arranged with precision to achieve harmony. The resulting symbolic poem was intended to evoke a sense of intoxication. These poetic ideals were a protest not only against the debasement of the language but also against materialism and naturalism, to which George opposed an austerity of life and a standard of poetic excellence. He advocated a humanism inspired by Friedrich Hölderlin (Hölderlin, Friedrich), which he hoped would be realized in a new society. His ideas, and the affectations into which they led some of his disciples, his claim of superiority, and his obsession with power were ridiculed, attacked, and misused by those who misunderstood them. But George himself was strongly opposed to the political developments—above all, the rise of Nazism—which his ideas are sometimes thought to reflect. When the Nazi government offered him money and honours, he refused them and went into exile.

      George's collected works fill 18 volumes (Gesamtausgabe, 1927–34), including five of translations and one of prose sketches. His collections of poetry, of which Hymnen (1890), Pilgerfahrten (1891), Algabal (1892), Das Jahr der Seele (1897), Der Teppich des Lebens (1899), Der siebente Ring (1907), Der Stern des Bundes (1914), and Das neue Reich (1928) are the most important, show his poetic and spiritual development from early doubts and searching self-examination to confidence in his role as a seer and as leader of the new society he projected.

      Personally, and spiritually, he found the fulfillment of his striving for significance in “Maximin” (Maximilian Kronberger [1888–1904]), a beautiful and gifted youth whom he met in Munich in 1902. After the boy's death George claimed that he had been a god, glorifying him in his later poetry and explaining his attitude to him in Maximin, ein Gedenkbuch (privately published, 1906).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • George, Stefan — (1868 1933)    poet and writer; generally judged Ger many s best lyric poet. Born in the Rhineland village of Buïdesheim, he culti vated an interest in languages and poetry while attending Gymnasium. His first poetry appeared in 1887 under the… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • George, Stefan — ► (1868 1933) Poeta alemán. Combatió el materialismo filosófico y el naturalismo literario; defendió el principio del arte por el arte. Obras: Himnos (1890) y El año del alma (1897). * * * (12 jul. 1868, Büdesheim, cerca de Bingen, Hesse–4 dic.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • George [3] — George, Stefan, Dichter, geb. 12. Juli 1868 in Bingen, Mitbegründer der »Blätter für die Kunst« als Gegenströmung gegen den Naturalismus; schrieb die Dichtungen »Algabal« (1892), »Das Jahr der Seele« (1897), »Der Teppich des Lebens« (1899), »Tage …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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