The social power of rituals is a function of their aesthetic fascination; the one is unimaginable without the other. In modern German literature, Stefan George's works (1868-1933) represent the most significant and consistent case of a ritualistic aesthetic. Indeed, the indissoluble unity between George's work and his life can be reconstructed in terms of the category of ritual. George's entire oeuvre is something akin to one huge transition ritual opening up German lyric poetry to the traditions of aestheticism and symbolism. His literary rituals proved their cohesive potency early on in connection with the master/disciple nature of his famous 'Circle'. They were of decisive importance for the major impact that George had on literature, politics and academe in Germany, an impact that has only just begun to be fully appreciated and examined.
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