Poetry of the Empty Centre
Stefan George is once again en vogue. Major biographies have cast light on the background of this colourful and chequered poet: his political views and the exclusively male "George Circle", which fed on the poet's charisma and power consciousness in equal measures. But his highly complex poems, which were once so widely read, are sadly neglected in these biographies. Ernst Osterkamp submits George's seminal late work The New Empire to an in-depth analysis. Using interpretations of the poems Der Gehenkte (the Hanged Man), Goethes letzte Nacht in Italien (Goethe's Last Night in Italy), Hyperion and An die Kinder des Meeres (Ode to the Children of the Sea), he reconstructs George's thought processes and, at the same time, reduces them to absurdity:
"George's New Empire is not inclusive, but exclusive: it works only by omission." A brilliant essay – precisely conceived and polemically expressed.