Visions of Philhellenism in the Poetry of Wilhelm von Humboldt: Between Historical Analysis and Idealized Modernity

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  • Felix Saure
Wilhelm von Humboldt is one of Germany‘s most prominent graecophiles. His poems — despite their artistic mediocrity — reveal Humboldt’s reflections on the course of history, as well as the connection between the idea of Bildung and his visions for the German nation. His lyric poetry can be seen as belonging to the tradition of an idealistic view of history found also in works by Schiller and Herder. Based on Winckelmann’s image of classical Greece, Humboldt develops a distinct, political view of history, combining his fascination for ‘Hellas’, a critique of ancient Rome and modern France, and ideas about the national future of Germany.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublications of the English Goethe Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)159-179
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2013

Bibliographical note

Felix Saure teaches at Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg, and at a Gymnasium in Hamburg. The focus of his research and teaching is history of Bildung, especially Wilhelm von Humboldt; sports and antiquity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; Karl Friedrich Schinkel; literature of the GDR; and historical novels.

    Research areas

  • Wilhelm von Humboldt, poetry, philhellenism, Bildung, reception of antiquity, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Rome (as image), ancient Rome, ancient Greece
  • Educational science