May 2019 – GOETHE – Writing A Letter To Myself – Sturm Und Drang

See these events on Meetup.com

2nd Monday 5/13/2019 Discussion and Prompt Night

4th Monday 5/27/2019 Share and Critique Night


In May We are studying the German Author JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Wolfgang_von_Goethe

And the literary movement he was a part of

STURM UND DRANG – Storm and Drive
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturm_und_Drang

For a good overview of this movement, check out the BBC Radio Four ‘In Our Time’ Podcast about it, which you can listen to on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONTAcUQv3Jo

This was very much a formative German cultural movement that through both the introspective suicidal romantic (Young Werther) and the high magician who makes deals with the Devil (Faust), influenced the emergence of a German spirit with obviously political implications, with the fascist movements in the 20th century and the destruction of modern Germany at the hand of the Nazis. These cultural currents are in play again today, and I’d like to try to have a discussion of what we might learn from these sources of a Romantic styled Violence of Emotion / Individuality and Deeply Introspective View / Libertinism and Libertarianism / A question of What order we follow / Revolt against older formalism. From the movement that rehabilitated Shakespeare as the quintessential unique genius, from out of the hands of people who denigrated him because he didn’t follow ‘the forms’, these treasure-chests of creative energy in various cultures around the world have led to some of the worst of shallow indulgence and bad faith interpretation in our modern day.

As a kind of crux of our current day politics, I want to take the grenade out of the hand of the boys in the Joker Halloween masks, and ask whether the grenade itself has any artistic merit.

I just finished reading GOETHE’s (one of the main authors of this movement) major work ‘Faust’, and I’m reading through ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’, his early novel about a romantic character who committed suicide, which led to people following his footsteps in kind. I’m also looking into a biography of Goethe by an author who, I’ve read another one of his biographies (of Nietzsche), and it should provide some insight.

I’ll have a study packet for the meeting on Monday, and if you have anything you want to discuss or want to prepare something related to the topic, you’re welcome to share!

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