Poetry as a Deep Emotional Experience of a Different World: The Example of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 5, Issue 6, November 2017, Pages: 172-178
Received: Sep. 30, 2017; Accepted: Oct. 23, 2017; Published: Nov. 16, 2017
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Ottmar Fuchs, Faculty of Catholic Theology, Department of Practical Theology, Eberhard-Karls-University, Tuebingen, Germany
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Poetry which comes from other religions and cultures can become an emotionally based bodily experience of a different world. This way of accessing the Other breaks down the biogenetic fixation on one’s own pack, family and land, and the concomitant hatred of strangers - other people, tribes and nations. This happens within an aesthetic context where we do not feel threatened and engage in the transition playfully and imaginatively. Currently, questions about the possibility of shared spaces enabling inter-cultural and inter-religious co-existence are of great importance. How does Goethe deal with what he finds in that alien world of poems by the Persian poet Hafiz? Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan may be considered an excellent role model of intercultural learning, centred on a training in aesthetically based empathy.
Intercultural Coexistence, Interreligious Communication, Linguistic Empathy, Poetic Assimilation, Aesthetic Identification
To cite this article
Ottmar Fuchs, Poetry as a Deep Emotional Experience of a Different World: The Example of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 5, No. 6, 2017, pp. 172-178. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20170506.12
Copyright © 2017 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Delivered in the Department of English Language and Literature - Sultan Qaboos University, 3rd International Conference on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Translation: Connecting the Dots in a Glocalized World, November 3-5 2016, Oman.
Patrick Colm Hogan, The Death of the Goddess: A Poem in Twelve Cantos, Preface.
Christa Knellwolf King in her lecture at the Oman University on 9th February 2016.
See Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-östlicher Divan, München 1982, written between 1814 and 1819, English: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-Eastern Divan, translated by Edward Dowden, London und Toronto 1914.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Klaus-Detlef Müller, Aus meinem Leben, Dichtung und Wahrheit, Text und Kommentar (3. Teil, 14. Buch, 1814), Frankfurt a. M. 1986, 685.
Ibd. 685 und 687.
Vgl. Gerhard Sauder (Hg.), Theorie der Empfindsamkeit und der Sturm und Drang, Stuttgart 2003.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahomet, Fragment (1772), in: Gerhard Sauder (Hg.), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Sämtliche Werke nach Epochen seines Schaffens, Band 1.1, Der junge Goethe 1757 - 1775, München 1985, 517.
Kommentar zu Mahomet, Fragment, Text und Kommentar, in: Sauder (Hg.), Der junge Goethe 941.
Cf. Goethe, Mahomet 518-519.
Mahomet, Kommentar 943.
Cf. ibid. 943.
Cf. Katharina Mommsen, Goethe und die Arabische Welt, Frankfurt a. M. 1988, 194-238; id., Goethe und der Islam, Frankfurt a. M., Leipzig 2001, 31-95.
Karl Otto Conrady, Goethe. Leben und Werk, Frankfurt am Main 1987, II, 390.
Goethe, westöstlicher Divan, Besserem Verständnis,(Übersetzungen 1819), in: Goethe, Divan (Reclam) 280.
For this see also the translation theory of Rudolf Pannwitz and Walter Benjamin (Illuminationen, Frankfurt am Main 1977, 59ff.), see also from the perspective of an intercultural conceptualisation of a diachronous hemerneutics between the Bible and the present: Ottmar Fuchs, Praktische Hermeneutik der Heiligen Schrift, Stuttgart 2004, 318ff.
Goethe, Divan 21-22.
Goethe in a letter to Zelter 11.5.1820, quotet in den Anmerkungen zu Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, West-östlicher Divan, München 1982, 134.
Goethe in his announcement of the Divan, Morgenblatt 1816, quoted in: Goethe, Divan, Anmerkungen 136. And: Goethe in a letter to Cotta vom 16.5.1815, quoted in Goethe, Divan, Anmerkungen 133.
Goethe, Besserem Verständnis (Einleitung 1819).
Goethe, Divan 5-6.
Chiser is the keeper of the source of life.
The Huris are the beautiful-eyed playmates of the blessed in paradise.
Written 24th December 1814.
Im Schenkenbuch, ibd. 86
Im Buch des Sängers, Goethe, Divan 13.
Quoted by Goethe, Divan, Anmerkungen 139.
Goethe in den Maximen und Reflexionen Nr. 1136, see Goethe, Divan, Anmerkungen 142.
Goethe in a letter to the Orientalist Iken vom 27.9.1827, see Goethe, Divan, Anmerkungen 134.
Ulrike Bechmann, Besprechung von Kuschel, Karl-Josef: Juden-Christen-Muslime, in: Theologische Revue 105 (2009) 4, 342-348, 347.
Goethe to Carlyle VII.
There are other texts by Goethe that show the same tendency to disassemble the boundaries of national literature and relate it to world literature. For example, he was not content with a national library limited to the German language. In 1808, he requested the following changes: indeed, one would have to explicitly point out the achievements of other nations, not least because the books is intended for children, too, and especially in this day and age they have to be made aware of the achievements of other nations. Quoted in Conrady, Goethe II, 499. What is important for Goethe here is not only that which relates to the familiar, but that which contradicts it:... thus it is to be expected that every (nation) will find in another something acceptable and something revolting, something worth copying and something to be avoided. Quoted from Thomas Carlyle, Leben Schillers, Entwurf; 12, 364, in Conrady II, 500.
Conrady, Goethe II, 402.
Ibid. 402.
Ibid. 402.
Ibid. 403.
Ibid. 404.
Rüdiger Safranski, Schiller oder Die Erfindung des Deutschen Idealismus, München, Wien 2/2008, 50.
See Anke Bosse, Interkulturelle Balance statt clash of cultures. Zu Goethes West-östlichem Divan, in: Etudes germaniques 60 (2005) 2, 231-248, 244.
On July 7, 2001, Daniel Barenboim conducted Richard Wagner for the first time publicly in Israel. This reflects a difficult and oft-criticised attempt at rehabilitating Wagner and his music to create community and avoid remaining fixated on how he was instrumentalised by national socialism to make the horror of exclusion and destruction aesthetically representable.
Cf. Ottmar Fuchs, Die Menschen in ihren Erfahrungen suchen, in: Rainer Bucher/Ottmar Fuchs/Joachim Kügler (Hg.), In Würde leben, Luzern 1998, 209-334; Wolfgang Welsch, Grenzgänge der Ästhetik, Stuttgart 1996.
Cf. Rainer Bucher, Rainer Krockauer, Es geht nichts verloren, Würzburg 2010, 149-165.
Cf. Anneliese und Peter Keilhauer, Die Bildsprache des Hinduismus. Die indische Götterwelt und ihre Symbolik, Köln 3/1990.
See Hermann Hesse, Kindheit des Zauberers, Frankfurt am Main 1974.
Hermann Hesse, Sämtliche Werke, Band 12, Autobiographische Schriften, Berlin 2003, 23-45.
Ibid. 23.
Cf. Dominik Perler, Transformationen der Gefühle. Philosophische Emotionstheorien 1270-1670, Frankfurt a. M. 2011.
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