Unreliable Conservatism and the politics of music: Eichendorff, Thomas Mann, and Hans Pfitzner at the end of the First World War

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Unreliable Conservatism and the politics of music : Eichendorff, Thomas Mann, and Hans Pfitzner at the end of the First World War. / Attfield, Nicholas.

In: Oxford German Studies, Vol. 49, No. 4, 31.12.2020, p. 380-400.

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@article{297817937e404598b0af5aead29c3619,
title = "Unreliable Conservatism and the politics of music: Eichendorff, Thomas Mann, and Hans Pfitzner at the end of the First World War",
abstract = "In a radio address of 1957, Theodor Adorno praised what he called Eichendorff{\textquoteright}s {\textquoteleft}unreliable [unzuverl{\"a}ssig]{\textquoteright} conservatism: a collection of qualities that allowed him to draw dynamically on a musical flow of conventional poetic elements while simultaneously affirming the promise of a shimmering utopian future beyond bourgeois trappings. This article considers these same qualities as valued by another writer Adorno admired, Thomas Mann, and his circle in the aftermath of the First World War. It argues, first, for Mann{\textquoteright}s identification (in the Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen, 1918) of an exemplary national-conservative attitude in Eichendorff{\textquoteright}s Taugenichts, himself a musician wandering beyond the bourgeoisie; second, it observes the political potential of this attitude in Hans Pfitzner{\textquoteright}s setting of Eichendorff{\textquoteright}s poem {\textquoteleft}Klage{\textquoteright}. Finally, the article turns to three musical acts c.1918–1921 — a performance, a composition, and the expounding of music theory — in order to demonstrate the close relationship of Mann and Pfitzner at this time, and to position their combined thought as inspirational for a new national conservatism in music in the early post-war period.",
keywords = "Eichendorff, Mann, Pfitzner, music, Conservatism, Betrachtungen",
author = "Nicholas Attfield",
year = "2020",
month = dec,
day = "31",
doi = "10.1080/00787191.2020.1840815",
language = "English",
volume = "49",
pages = "380--400",
journal = "Oxford German Studies",
issn = "0078-7191",
publisher = "Maney Publishing",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Unreliable Conservatism and the politics of music

T2 - Eichendorff, Thomas Mann, and Hans Pfitzner at the end of the First World War

AU - Attfield, Nicholas

PY - 2020/12/31

Y1 - 2020/12/31

N2 - In a radio address of 1957, Theodor Adorno praised what he called Eichendorff’s ‘unreliable [unzuverlässig]’ conservatism: a collection of qualities that allowed him to draw dynamically on a musical flow of conventional poetic elements while simultaneously affirming the promise of a shimmering utopian future beyond bourgeois trappings. This article considers these same qualities as valued by another writer Adorno admired, Thomas Mann, and his circle in the aftermath of the First World War. It argues, first, for Mann’s identification (in the Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen, 1918) of an exemplary national-conservative attitude in Eichendorff’s Taugenichts, himself a musician wandering beyond the bourgeoisie; second, it observes the political potential of this attitude in Hans Pfitzner’s setting of Eichendorff’s poem ‘Klage’. Finally, the article turns to three musical acts c.1918–1921 — a performance, a composition, and the expounding of music theory — in order to demonstrate the close relationship of Mann and Pfitzner at this time, and to position their combined thought as inspirational for a new national conservatism in music in the early post-war period.

AB - In a radio address of 1957, Theodor Adorno praised what he called Eichendorff’s ‘unreliable [unzuverlässig]’ conservatism: a collection of qualities that allowed him to draw dynamically on a musical flow of conventional poetic elements while simultaneously affirming the promise of a shimmering utopian future beyond bourgeois trappings. This article considers these same qualities as valued by another writer Adorno admired, Thomas Mann, and his circle in the aftermath of the First World War. It argues, first, for Mann’s identification (in the Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen, 1918) of an exemplary national-conservative attitude in Eichendorff’s Taugenichts, himself a musician wandering beyond the bourgeoisie; second, it observes the political potential of this attitude in Hans Pfitzner’s setting of Eichendorff’s poem ‘Klage’. Finally, the article turns to three musical acts c.1918–1921 — a performance, a composition, and the expounding of music theory — in order to demonstrate the close relationship of Mann and Pfitzner at this time, and to position their combined thought as inspirational for a new national conservatism in music in the early post-war period.

KW - Eichendorff

KW - Mann

KW - Pfitzner

KW - music

KW - Conservatism

KW - Betrachtungen

U2 - 10.1080/00787191.2020.1840815

DO - 10.1080/00787191.2020.1840815

M3 - Article

VL - 49

SP - 380

EP - 400

JO - Oxford German Studies

JF - Oxford German Studies

SN - 0078-7191

IS - 4

ER -