The dialectic of destruction and creation in the German tradition: a Jungian perspective on Goethe, Nietzsche, Rilke, and George

Bishop, P. (2011) The dialectic of destruction and creation in the German tradition: a Jungian perspective on Goethe, Nietzsche, Rilke, and George. Jung Journal, 5(4), pp. 60-82. (doi: 10.1525/jung.2011.5.4.60)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/jung.2011.5.4.60

Abstract

Taking Jung’s interest in Goethe as its starting-point, this paper examines the theory of creativity presented and embodied in Goethe’s Faust, before turning to Nietzsche’s often misunderstood reflections on the creative function of war. Using the dialectical relation of creation and destruction as its interpretative matrix, it offers a reading of two, often overlooked, poems by writers central to the German lyric tradition in the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke and Stefan George. Arguing that Rilke’s “Five Hymns” and George’s “The War” are texts that deserve, despite (or because of ) their difficulty, closer analysis, this paper suggests that the uncomfortable message of these two works makes sense from a Jungian perspective on the world.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bishop, Professor Paul
Authors: Bishop, P.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Journal Name:Jung Journal
ISSN:1934-2039
ISSN (Online):1934-2047

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