The Spell of Italy: Vacation, Magic, and the Attraction of Goethe

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Wayne State University Press, 2006 - 310 Seiten

Wearied by his life as an administrator at the Duke’s court in Weimar, in 1786 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe departed unannounced in the middle of the night for what had been the destination of his imagination since childhood: Italy. His extended stay there dramatically affected his views of art, architecture, prose, poetry, and science. When he returned to Germany and Weimar, Goethe’s experiences translated into his life and work in ways that influenced countless others as they developed Germany’s own brand of high culture.

The Spell of Italy: Vacation, Magic, and the Attraction of Goethe tracks the peculiar space Italy occupies in the cultural consciousness of German writers by reconsidering the Italian journeys of Goethe and Winckelmann and the legacy of those journeys in the works of Heine, Nietzsche, Freud, Mann, Carossa, and Bachmann. Author Richard Block contests previous assumptions about Italy as a place to encounter classical culture and creative rebirth. His study examines the degree to which Germany’s literary and cultural traditions appropriated a phantasmic Italy, showing how Winckelmann’s art history and Goethe’s Italian journey predisposed later writers to search for an aesthetic ideal in Italy that did not exist, and how their search for this absent ideal eventually resulted in disillusionment and deception. Building on previous work on Goethe, literary theory, and cultural history, The Spell of Italy offers compelling new ways of understanding Germany’s fascination with Italy from the eighteenth century to its troubled political history of the twentieth century.

 

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Inhalt

Opened Wounds Winckelmann and the Discovery of the Art of the Ancients
17
Fathers and Sons in Italy The Ghosts of Goethes Past
49
Taking the Words out of the Fathers Mouth Goethes Authorial Triumph
79
On Goethes Other Trail Heinrich Heines Grand Detour
111
The Return of the Repressed Nietzsche and Freud
141
Goethes Other Italy The Devils Playground
185
Birthing Italy
223
Notes
231
Works Cited
277
Index
295
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Über den Autor (2006)

Richard Block is assistant professor of Germanics at the University of Washington. He is co-editor of The Spirit of Poesy: Essays on Jewish and German Literature and Thought in Honor of Géza von Molnár (Northwestern University Press, 2000) and translator of Peter Bürger's The Thinking of the Master:. Bataille between Hegel and Surrealism (Northwestern University Press, 2002).

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