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Exile, Science and BildungThe Legacy of the George Circle

Exile, Science and Bildung: The Legacy of the George Circle [How the idea of Bildung entered into the self-understanding of the German bourgeoisie before 1933 can not be seen better than in the circle formed around the charismatic poet Stefan George (1868–1922), as well as the other people influenced by him. The immense success of the natural sciences and the progressive industrialization around 1900 in Europe placed the humanistic concept of Bildung under strong pressure to legitimate itself anew. The inclusive concept of Bildung that had emerged in the eighteenth century, alongside the belief in the perfectibility of man, had to be newly defined around 1900, and redirected mainly toward the arts and human sciences. Criticisms of society or human life as increasingly mechanized or standardized by the market formed part of the topoi of the George Circle. Against the negative tendencies of modernity, the circle pitted an elite concept of Bildung, and at the core of this concept, for the George Circle, stood poetry, because poetry offered the highest expression of humanity’s possibilities. Everyone belonging to the George Circle, and even those who were merely under the influence of George’s poetry and writings, participated in the process of socialization to that cultured citizenry intended by the distinctive concept of Bildungs bürgertum. As Carola Groppe points out, moreover, The elite conceptions of Bildung of the Circle could assume a double function: they could, on the one hand, maintain an informal barrier for the bildungs bürgerlichen upper class against upwardly mobile groups, and, on the other hand, suggest via the reception of the writings of the Circle a potential mode of participation in a cultural discourse for a newly emerging Bildungs bürgertum.1] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Exile, Science and BildungThe Legacy of the George Circle

Editors: Kettler, David; Lauer, Gerhard
Exile, Science and Bildung — Feb 22, 2016

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Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2005
ISBN
978-1-349-73456-6
Pages
19 –26
DOI
10.1007/978-1-137-04596-6_2
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[How the idea of Bildung entered into the self-understanding of the German bourgeoisie before 1933 can not be seen better than in the circle formed around the charismatic poet Stefan George (1868–1922), as well as the other people influenced by him. The immense success of the natural sciences and the progressive industrialization around 1900 in Europe placed the humanistic concept of Bildung under strong pressure to legitimate itself anew. The inclusive concept of Bildung that had emerged in the eighteenth century, alongside the belief in the perfectibility of man, had to be newly defined around 1900, and redirected mainly toward the arts and human sciences. Criticisms of society or human life as increasingly mechanized or standardized by the market formed part of the topoi of the George Circle. Against the negative tendencies of modernity, the circle pitted an elite concept of Bildung, and at the core of this concept, for the George Circle, stood poetry, because poetry offered the highest expression of humanity’s possibilities. Everyone belonging to the George Circle, and even those who were merely under the influence of George’s poetry and writings, participated in the process of socialization to that cultured citizenry intended by the distinctive concept of Bildungs bürgertum. As Carola Groppe points out, moreover, The elite conceptions of Bildung of the Circle could assume a double function: they could, on the one hand, maintain an informal barrier for the bildungs bürgerlichen upper class against upwardly mobile groups, and, on the other hand, suggest via the reception of the writings of the Circle a potential mode of participation in a cultural discourse for a newly emerging Bildungs bürgertum.1]

Published: Feb 22, 2016

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