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Music and MonumentalityCommemoration and Wonderment in Nineteenth Century Germany$
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Alexander Rehding

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385380.001.0001

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Faustian Descents

Faustian Descents

(p.168) (p.169) Chapter Six Faustian Descents
Music and Monumentality

Alexander Rehding

Oxford University Press

In Goethe’s Faust II, the protagonist, Faust, was sent to the realm of the Mütterwhere he encountered abstract maternal forces and the embodiment of the Eternal-Feminine. Through this experience, Faust was able to realize his human nature because of how he reacts to such a sublime presence. Faust’s character initially symbolized the archetypal “German character,” and this view was altered as Oswald Spengler declared in 1918 the end of the Faustian Age. This scene, however, is said to depict the situation of musical literature and musical thought during the National Socialist regime, wherein the “mothers” came between the 1930s and the 1940s. This chapter shows how certain arguments such as Moser’s illustrate certain attributes of the romantic metaphysics of absolute music through association with Faust’s character.

Keywords:   Goethe, Faust II, Faust, German character, National Socialist regime, mothers, Mütter, absolute music

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