Saturday, June 08, 2002

It was characterised by certain distinctive attributes: humanity, openness on all sides, philosophical depth of thought, dissatisfaction with the world and oneself, the courage always to try something fresh and to abandon it if need be, self-criticism, truthfulness, objectivity, severity, rigour, variety, a certain ponderousness but also delight in the freest improvisation, slowness and earnestness but also a playful richness of invention, engendering ever new ideas which it quickly rejects as invalid, respect for originality, good nature, generosity, sentimentality, musicality, and above all freedom, something roving, unfettered, soaring, weightless, Promethean.
In a complaint about what contemporary Germany lacks, an article on the two spirits of Germany descibes the commonalities between my favorite writers (Lessing, Goethe, Heine, Nietzsche) better than most commentators can, appropriately contrasting that spirit with German nationalism. Via A&L


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