chapter  1
34 Pages

The Literary Context: Goethe as Source and Catalyst

WithHarry Seelig

Because the nineteenth-century German lied and German Romantic poetry are both so inextricably associated with music-the lieder most obviously, the poems less explicitly-this introduction will trace their origins in the late eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century literary-musical culture that gave rise to each genre.1 The very term lied clearly indicates a symbiosis of literature and music. In addition to designating a fully independent literary text in and of itself, as well as the art songs that are the subject of this book, it has often been used in the titles of large-scale works in poetry (e.g., Schiller’s Das Lied von der Glocke) and in music (e.g., Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde) that have very little to do with the miniature forms we are primarily concerned with here. Yet the basic and still current understanding of lied is that of an autonomous poem either intended to be sung or suitable in its form and content for singing (Garland 1976, 535).