Stefan George

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

George, Stefan


Born July 12, 1868, in Büdesheim; died Dec. 4, 1933, in Locarno. German poet and one of the prominent representatives of German symbolism.

During the 1890’s, George was the head of a literary circle, and in 1899 he founded the journal Blätter für die Kunst. In his collections Hymns (1890), Pilgrimage (1891), The Books of the Shepherds (1895), and The Year of the Soul (1897), which embodied certain ideas of Nietzsche, George celebrated the secret forces of nature and exceptional heroes. Later George strove for a poetic affirmation of absolute moral values (the collections The Seventh Ring, 1907, and Southern Star, 1914). The collections War (1917) and Three Songs (1921) evince the influence of expressionism. George’s style was characterized by extremely complex syntax and abundant archaic images; even his orthography was original. His mystical moods and cult of self-sufficient heroism (for example, the collection The New Reich, 1928) enabled bourgeois reactionaries to use George’s poems for their own slogans. But George himself rejected fascism and emigrated; he even left orders that he not be buried in Germany.


Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1-18. Berlin, 1927-34.
Werke, vols. 1-2. Munich-Düsseldorf, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Sovremennye nemetskie poety v perevodakh V. El’snera. Moscow, 1913.


Iz novoi nemetskoi liriki: Perevody i kharakteristiki G. Zabezhinskogo. Berlin, 1921. Pages 73-77.
Brodersen, A. Stephan George. Berlin, 1935.
Bennett, E. K. Stefan George. Cambridge, 1954.
Schultz, H. S. Studien zur Dichtung Stefan Georges. Heidelberg [1967].
Zweig, A. Essays, vol. 1. Berlin, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Norton's 2002 biography of George (Secret Germany: Stefan George and his Circle (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press)), this Camden House Companion is a welcome indication of a revival of interest in this unjustly neglected poet.
In his early poetry Rilke is said to be attempting to find an alternative to Stefan George's 'autonomous, privileged language' (p.
The long essay on Stefan George, another spiritual guru for Nebel and many of his generation, stands somewhat apart, in that it offers less of Nebel's trademark 'practical' philosophizing and Zeitkritik, characteristic of most of the other essays, and more of a slightly tedious exegetic exercise on poetry submerged in an almost ritual pessimism in the face of God's abandonment of the world.
(Actually, the problem may be that they were written to be too easily readable, and are inadequate to capture the elusive density of Shakespeare's poetry.) The extremes of potential strategies are again brought out by a telling detailed comparison, in this case between the versions of Sonnets 74 and 29 by Dorothea Tieck and Stefan George, the former permitting herself 'liberties for the sake of a harmonious whole, much less tensely structured' than many of the originals (p.
Norton has written a massive book, which can rightly claim to be the longest biography of Stefan George; and, if not the first full biography to appear in any language, as the dust jacket claims, then the first biography by someone who is outside the George-Kreis.
Stefan George: Werk und Wirkung seit dem 'Siebenten Ring'.