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Hidden Germany

Poems

by George, Stefan

Throughout his life, Stefan George repeatedly referred to Germany in his poems. He frequently focused on German landscapes and cities, recalled German characters and events, but also used his work — for example, the Zeitgedichte (Time Poems) and his great poem Der Krieg (The War) — to criticize German attitudes and misconceptions.

George’s poetry often has overlapping motifs. In general, his poems about Germany are written in the context of his verses that speak of the beauty and treasures of other countries, which serve as touchstones for his work. This includes the Orient and, above all, Ancient Greece: “Hellas, our eternal love.” George’s Germany poems are fundamentally manifestations of an artist of European education and sentiment. However, his legacy was discredited and overshadowed by the appropriation of his works during a period of excessive German nationalism — in particular Geheimes Deutschland (Hidden Germany), the title poem of this collection. Helmuth Kiesel has compiled George’s Germany poems into a single volume for the first time as an invitation to rediscover and re-evaluate an important poet.

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