August Strindberg and Hermann Hesse pan-Nordic ties to the East and the search for a common mythology [electronic resource].

Sundberg, Lori Ann.
239 p.
Icelandic Literature.
Scandinavia -- Literature.
Germanic literature.
Literature, Modern.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
This dissertation investigates the life works of two authors, the Nobel Prize winning German-Swiss novelist Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) and the Swedish dramatist August Strindberg (1849-1912), who enjoyed a large portion of his success in Germany. I explore each author's involvement with the Voelkisch Movement, pan-Nordicism, rightist elitism, and the perception of the Far East as an ancient "Aryan" homeland. I believe each author used his plays, poems, novels, or short stories to arouse in his reader an identification with an Indo-Germanic heritage, and I prove (1) how each used myth to find an underlying racial identity based upon the spiritual practices of the East, and (2) how this idea became viewed within the contemporary scholarship of the day as an original "Aryan" religion. Buddhism, Lamaism, and/or Hinduism, therefore, became for each a personal quest to explain a Nordic pagan past. Myth became a vital component of the thought and output of both authors. For both Hesse and Strindberg, the term Indo-Germanic myth became closely linked to the voelkisch movements of their day. I prove to what extent both were caught up in fin-de-siecle movements, how voelkisch themes were prevalent in their writings, and most importantly, how myth made each conscious of race.
My study requires an exploration of that unclassifiable corner of literature often described as metaphysical, primarily because the strength of their works derives from a positive attitude toward the occult. Both Strindberg and Hesse admired the ancient wisdom expressed in Gnosticism, Catharism, and other esoteric movements, and they trace its threads through history with a nostalgic as well as an academic interest. My study will also examine the philosophies which perpetuated the Indo-Germanic myth, as well as those which influenced racist ideology well into the twentieth-century and their subsequent effect on Hesse and Strindberg. I will indicate that a literary movement of rebirth had begun, one that used the language of Nietzsche and correlated to the mythological philosophies of neopaganism, and that each author drew on the Germanic scholarship on the Teutonic peoples to give form to the pagan identity relayed in their literature. Each looked to the matriarchal theories of Bachofen not only for clues to individual and cultural rebirth, but also for the realization that man had an autonomous fantasy life in the human mind, and that each individual was more irrational and had fewer bourgeois-Christian attitudes than was previously believed. Through the literary evaluation of their works I will show a transition from bourgeois-Christian to modern consciousness and relay a contemporary belief in the power of ancestral biology on human behavior. Above all, my work evidences my authors' shared affinity for the writings of voelkisch scientists and scholars. The ideological Voelkisch Movement, with its esoteric aspects of folkloric occultism, nationalism, racism, and anti-capitalism, will be explicitly discussed in this research.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-02, Section: A, page: 0565.
Adviser: Frank Trommler.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 2008.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
University of Pennsylvania.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 70-02A.
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Restricted for use by site license.
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