German Freedom and the Greek Ideal The Cultural Legacy from Goethe to Mann

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-18
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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In 1794, Friedrich Schiller declared that "beauty is the only possible expression of freedom in phenomena." German Freedom and the Greek Ideal traces this German idea of freedom from the late Enlightenment through the early twentieth century. It focuses on the stars of German intellectual and artistic life in the nineteenth century, with illuminating accounts of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gottfried Semper, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann. Delving deeply into their works, McGrath shows how they invoked the ancient Greeks to in order to inspire Germans to cultural renewal and to enrich their understanding of freedom as something deeper and more urgent than political life could offer.

Author Biography

William J. McGrath was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Rochester where he taught modern European thought and ancient history and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1978. Following a Fulbright fellowship year in Vienna, Professor McGrath completed his doctorate in 1965 at the University of California at Berkeley. He taught at the University of Chicago before moving to Rochester in 1971.

Table of Contents

1. Freedom and Authority: Goethe's Faust and the Greek War of Independence
2. The Aesthetics of Freedom: The Architecture of Gottfried Semper
3. From Political Freedom to Self-Denial: Wagner's Ring and the Revolutions of 1848
4. Nietzsche and the Freedom of Self-Overcoming
5. From Self-Denial to Political Freedom: The Odyssey of Thomas Mann

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