From Goethe to Hauptmann: Studies in a Changing Culture

From Goethe to Hauptmann: Studies in a Changing Culture

From Goethe to Hauptmann: Studies in a Changing Culture

From Goethe to Hauptmann: Studies in a Changing Culture

Excerpt

If Thomas Mann is right in maintaining that Goethe's sojourn in Rome constitutes even more than Luther's a momentous event in the higher life of the German-speaking races, a critical study of the message which the capital of the Ancient World had for the greatest poet of modern times becomes an almost inevitable duty for the student of European culture. Closer scrutiny, however, soon reveals that such a study cannot profitably be undertaken without examining the interpretation which Goethe put upon the entire peninsula, of which Rome is but one centre of attraction, which had enthralled so many brilliant minds before him, and which since his day has proved a lodestar and a source of uplift to representatives of all possible shades of temperament. For the question instantly arises, why Goethe could rest satisfied with an intimate knowledge of Rome and show so little interest in other centres of culture, when after him men of the highest distinction discovered in Florence or in Venice quali-

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