Who would win Anarky against Prometheus?

"Prometheus" On the relationship between bourgeois literature and material production

Literary Studies and Social Sciences 3 pp 385-453 | Cite as


Goethe's Prometheus. Dramatic fragment was written in the summer of 1773. Goethe took the mythological material from Goethe, I am following Wolfgang Kaiser's information in the Hamburg edition of Goethe's works, mainly from two sources: Wieland's dream conversation with Prometheus from Wieland Contributions to the secret history of the human heart and mind from 1770 as well as Hederichs Mythological lexicon, which was published in 1770 in a new edition. [1] Oskar Walzei mentions the Aeschylus article from J.G. Sulzers General theory of fine arts from 1771. [2] Aeschylus ’Prometheus — Drama should also have been known to Goethe. The Prometheus - Ode - The literary and ideal core of the early Prometheus poems that have come down to us - was intended as the opening of the third act and in this sense was included by Goethe in the version of the fragment of the Complete Edition last hand. However, it was created more than a year later than the other parts of the fragment, around autumn 1774. The ode was first published as a republican - Spinozist document in Friedrich Jacobis About the teachings of Spinoza Published in 1785. [4] According to the Jacobis report, it prompted Lessing to make the well-known statement: "The point of view from which the poem is taken is my own point of view [...]" [5] Goethe included it in the edition in a stylistically revised form of his writings from 1789 included [6]; the dramatic fragment was not taken into account.

Strange enough that Prometheus, which I myself gave up and forgot. just shows up again. [...] Don't let the manuscript become too obvious so that it doesn't appear in print. Our revolutionary youth would be welcomed as a gospel [...]

Goethe to Zelter, May 11, 1820

Goethe's »Prometheus«. is the poem of our time. The real struggle with the authorities did not end with the poem. It was taken up again several times and is still hardly decided today. Today one can reliably say that the question is clear today: Prometheus is no longer afraid of the predatory vulture. The Prometheus of our time here anticipates his impending victory in triumph.

Belinsky, 1842

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Heinrich Heine, Religion and Philosophy in Germany, Werke, Frankfurt a.M. 1968, Vol. IV, p. 151. Google Scholar
  2. George Lukács, The peculiarity of the aesthetic, 2nd half volume, Neuwied. 1963, p. 832. Google Scholar
  3. Novalis, Works in one volume, Hamburg undated, 2nd ed. Pp. 413-15. On the political significance of Novalis' irrationalism, see my review by Hans-Joachim Mähl, The idea of ​​the golden age in the works of Novalis, in: Das Argument 66 (Oct. 1971), pp. 551-54.Google Scholar
  4. See Joachim Streisand, Critical studies on the legacy of German classical music: Fichte - W. W.V. Humboldt - Hegel, Frankfurt a.M. 1971, pp. 9–37 (section on Fichte) .Google Scholar
  5. Manfred Wojcik, "In Defense of Shelley," Journal of English and American Studies, 1963/2, p. 176 f.Google Scholar
  6. C. G. Jochmann, The regressions of poetry, in: Das Argument, 26, 3rd ed. (Nov. 1970) p. 17. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 1974

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available