Germanic Languages | History Study of German Literature III
G575 | 2846 | Marc Weiner

G575	Historical Study of German Literature III

I, 2002-2003; TR 2:30-3:45
Instructor: Marc A. Weiner
Office Hours: BH668, TR 1-2, and by appt.
Tel. 5-2033; “”

Topic: “Aesthetics and Cult: The 19th Century and its Aftermath”

The course examines an aesthetic and sociological phenomenon that
recurs at several points throughout the 19th-century and well into
the 20th: the self-definition of an aesthetic practice and its
adherents by virtue of their rejection of what is deemed to be a
larger and more pervasive kind of aesthetic appeal to a mass
audience.  The notion that a given aesthetic practice is defined both
by what it rejects and by its appeal to an elected group of initiates
leads in the course of the 19th-century to the polarized assessments
of art as either the product of the “culture industry” or of the
ivory tower.  Nevertheless, while this phenomenon develops as an
accompaniment to the industrial production of culture in the course
of the 19th-century, its explanatory model continues to inform the
public discussion of art today.

The course seeks to illustrate this development by analyzing many of
its diverse manifestations in the 19th and early 20th centuries:
Romaticism (Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel, Eichendorff, and
Hofmann); “aristocratic,” Catholic neo-classicism (Platen) and their
criticism by Heine (as well as his criticism of the opposite of
romanticism, the political activism of the Jungdeutschen); Wagner’s
promulgation of art as a modern form of religion and his programmatic
retreat from the popular stage (“Religion und Kunst,” Parsifal, and
additional selected essays); the rejection of Naturalism (Hermann
Bahr); the formation of a cult of auratic aesthetics (Huysmans,
George, and the early Hofmannsthal); the Viennese Secessionist
movement and Schoenberg’s formation of a private concert series for
New Music; and the subsequent criticism of the l’art pour l’art
aesthetic (Hofmannsthal’s Märchen, Thomas Mann’s Tristan).

In addition, we will read a number of essays (by Peter Bürger, Max
Weber, Hans Sanders, and Gert Sautermeister) in an effort to place
these examples of cultic aesthetic practice into an historical,
sociological, and ideological context.

Owing to the extensive amount of material to be read in the course of
the semester and to the fact that the course is designed for first-
year students, students will be asked, in lieu of writing a paper, to
make a presentation in the final weeks of the class.