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Title:Die utopische Gemeinschaft der Harmonisten: Ihr Einfluss auf das Amerikaerlebnis und das Werk Nikolaus Lenaus. (German text);
Author(s):Auer, Gerhard Josef
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lorbe, Ruth E.
Department / Program:Germanic Languages and Literatures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Modern
Literature, Germanic
Religion, General
Abstract:This thesis, written in German, investigates the sojourn of the Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850) to the United States in 1832-33. The focus point of the study is the poet's stay with the Harmonists, a utopian society in Economy, Pennsylvania. Before the detailed account of the society's history, structure, economical success, religious beliefs and spiritual condition is given, the author reveals some of the difficulties encountered concerning the perception of America through German literature. In addition, some of the contradictions that Lenau himself makes about his American experience are explained. A more objective perspective of Lenau's visit with the Harmonists is gained by examining the reports written by Germans who visited the society shortly before Lenau's arrival. This approach to the history of the society was necessary to fully understand Lenau's change of position in regard to his religious beliefs of which the poet himself repeatedly speaks during his visit with the followers of Father Rapp, the leader of the Harmonists.
Lenau's visit to the United States was a disaster from a personal standpoint; not even the property he purchased in Ohio brought the financial reward he expected and nature was, as he experienced it during the winter months, woefully dull. But despite these unfortunate circumstances Lenau encountered the serene surroundings of a people waiting for the second coming of Christ.
Upon Lenau's return to Europe he wrote three lengthy epic poems, Faust, Savonarola, and Die Albigenser, which deal with religious topics and minorities. In these works one can see a direct relationship to the beliefs and religious dogmas of the Harmonists. An intertextual analysis of Lenau's works shows numerous examples where the thoughts of the Harmonists can be observed. Through Lenau's literary works the ideas of these simple but industrious people from Germany were returned to their homeland and they thereby wrote a chapter of cultural history through the indirect medium of literature.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Auer, Gerhard Josef
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8916212
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8916212

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