|Author||Johann Wolfgang von Goethe|
|Original title||Das Märchen|
The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (German title: Märchen or Das Märchen) is a fairy tale by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1795 in Friedrich Schiller's German magazine Die Horen (The Horae). It concludes Goethe's novella rondo Conversations of German Emigrants (1795). Das Märchen is regarded as the founding example of the genre of Kunstmärchen, or artistic fairy tale.The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being.
A fairy tale, wonder tale, magic tale, or Märchen is a folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Such stories typically feature entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. In most cultures, there is no clear line separating myth from folk or fairy tale; all these together form the literature of preliterate societies. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and explicit moral tales, including beast fables. The term is mainly used for stories with origins in European tradition and, at least in recent centuries, mostly relates to children's literature.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him have survived.
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1795.
The tale begins with two will-o'-the-wisps who wake a ferryman and ask to be taken across a river. The ferryman does so, and for payment, they shake gold from themselves into the boat. This alarms the ferryman, for if the gold had gone into the river, it would overflow. He demands as payment: three artichokes, three cabbages, and three onions, and the will-o'-the-wisps may depart only after promising to bring him such. The ferryman takes the gold up to a high place, and deposits it into a rocky cleft, where it is discovered by a green snake who eats the gold, and finds itself luminous. This gives the snake opportunity to study an underground temple where we meet an old man with a lamp which can only give light when another light is present. The snake now investigates the temple, and finds four kings: one gold, one silver, one bronze, and one a mixture of all three.
In folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp or ignis fatuus is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. The phenomenon is known in English folk belief, English folklore and much of European folklore by a variety of names, including jack-o'-lantern, friar's lantern, hinkypunk and hobby lantern, and is said to mislead travelers by resembling a flickering lamp or lantern. In literature, will-o'-the-wisp sometimes have a metaphorical meaning, e.g. describing a hope or goal that leads one on but is impossible to reach, or something one finds sinister and confounding.
The story then switches over to the wife of the old man, who meets a melancholy prince. He has met a beautiful Lily, but is distressed by the fact that anyone who touches her will die. The snake is able to form a temporary bridge across the river at midday, and in this way, the wife and prince come to the beautiful Lily's garden, where she is mourning her fate. As twilight falls, the prince succumbs to his desire for the Beautiful Lily, rushes towards her, and dies. The green snake encircles the prince, and the old man, his wife, and the will-o'-the-wisps form a procession and cross the river on the back of the snake.
Back in the land of the senses, and guided by the old man, the Lily is able to bring the prince back to life — albeit in a dream state — by touching both the snake and the prince. The snake then sacrifices itself, and changes into a pile of precious stones which are thrown into the river. The old man then directs them towards the doors of the temple which are locked. The will-o'-the-wisps help them enter by eating the gold out of the doors. At this point, the temple is magically transported beneath the river, surfacing beneath the ferryman's hut — which turns into a silver altar. The three kings bestow gifts upon the sleeping prince and restore him. The fourth, mixed king collapses as the will-o'-the-wisps lick the veins of gold out of him. We also find that Lily's touch no longer brings death. Thus, the prince is united with the beautiful Lily, and they are married. When they look out from the temple, they see a permanent bridge which spans the river — the result of the snake's sacrifice — "and to the present hour the Bridge is swarming with travellers, and the Temple is the most frequented on the whole Earth".
It has been claimed that Das Märchen was born out of Goethe's reading of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and that it is full of esoteric symbolism. In 1786, Goethe observed that The Chymical Wedding contains “a pretty fairy story” for which he had no time at the moment.
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is a German book edited in 1616 in Strasbourg. Its anonymous authorship is attributed to Johann Valentin Andreae. The Chymical Wedding is often described as the third of the original manifestos of the mysterious "Fraternity of the Rose Cross" (Rosicrucians), although it is markedly different from the Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis in style and in subject matter.
Rudolf Steiner, in his 1918 book Goethe's Standard of the Soul, speaks of it as follows: “On the river stands the Temple in which the marriage of the Young Man with the Lily takes place. The ‘marriage’ with the supersensible, the realisation of the free personality, is possible in a human soul whose forces have been brought into a state of regularity that in comparison with the usual state is a transformation.”This article led to an invitation to speak to the German Theosophical Society which eventually led to Steiner becoming its General Secretary.
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.
The relationship between Rudolf Steiner and the Theosophical Society, co-founded in 1875 by H.P. Blavatsky with Henry Steel Olcott and others, was a complex and changing one.
The Theosophical Society was an organization formed in 1875 by Helena Blavatsky to advance Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments, currently has several successors. Following the death of Blavatsky, competition within the Society between factions emerged, particularly among founding members and the organisation split between the Theosophical Society Adyar (Olcott-Besant) and the Theosophical Society Pasadena (Judge). The former group, headquartered in India, is the most widespread international group holding the name "Theosophical Society" today.
Tom Raines gives the following historical background for “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily”:
This Fairy Tale was written by Goethe as a response to a work of Schiller’s entitled Über die aesthetische Erziehung des Menschen (Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man). One of the main thoughts considered in these ‘letters’ centred around the question of human freedom... Schiller saw that a harmonious social life could only be founded on the basis of free human personalities. He saw that there was an "ideal human being" within everyone and the challenge was to bring the outer life experiences into harmony with this "ideal". Then the human being would lead a truly worthy existence.
Schiller was trying to build an inner bridge between the Person in the immediate reality and the 'ideal human being'. He wrote these ‘Letters’ during the time and context of the French Revolution. This revolution was driven by a desire for outer social changes to enable human personalities to become free. But both Schiller and Goethe recognised that freedom cannot be ‘imposed’ from the outside but must arise from within each person. Whilst he had an artistic nature, Schiller was more at home in the realm of philosophic thoughts and although Goethe found much pleasure in these ‘Letters’ of Schiller, he felt that the approach concerning the forces in the soul was too simply stated and, it should be said, working in abstract ideas was not Goethe's way. So he set about writing a Fairy Tale that would show, in imaginative pictures, the way in which a human soul could become whole and free, thereby giving rise to a new and free human community. And this was published in Die Horen in 1795.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
The tale was the basis for Giselher Klebe's 1969 opera Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie .
Giselher Wolfgang Klebe was a German composer, and an academic teacher. He composed more than 140 works, among them 14 literary operas, eight symphonies, 15 solo concerts, chamber music, piano works, and sacred music.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
Das Märchen von der schönen Lilie, Op. 55, is an opera in two acts by Giselher Klebe on a libretto by Lore Klebe based Goethe's fairy tale Das Märchen. On a commission by the SWR for the Schwetzingen Festival, it was premiered on 15 May 1969 at the Schlosstheater Schwetzingen, staged by Oskar Fritz Schuh and conducted by Hans Zender. The opera was published by Bärenreiter.
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.
"Snow White" is a 19th-century German fairy tale which is today known widely across the Western world. The Brothers Grimm published it in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms' Fairy Tales. It was titled in German: Sneewittchen and numbered as Tale 53. The name Sneewittchen was Low German and in the first version it was translated with Schneeweißchen. The Grimms completed their final revision of the story in 1854.
The Little Mermaid is a fairy tale written by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The story follows the journey of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul. The tale was first published in 1837 as part of a collection of fairy tales for children. The original story has been a subject of multiple analyses by scholars such as Jacob Bøggild and Pernille Heegaard as well as the folklorist Maria Tatar. These analyses cover various aspects of the story from interpreting the themes to discussing why Andersen chose to write a tragic story with a happy ending. It has been adapted to various media, including musical theatre, anime and a Disney animated film. There is also a statue portraying the mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the story was written and first published.
"The Frog Prince; or, Iron Henry" is a fairy tale, best known through the Brothers Grimm's written version; traditionally it is the first story in their collection.
Grimms' Fairy Tales, originally known as the Children's and Household Tales, is a collection of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers or "Brothers Grimm", Jakob and Wilhelm, first published on 20 December 1812. The first edition contained 86 stories, and by the seventh edition in 1857, had 211 unique fairy tales.
"The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was" or "The Story of a Boy Who Went Forth to Learn Fear" is a German folktale collected by the Brothers Grimm. It is tale number 4 in the collection. It was also included by Andrew Lang in The Blue Fairy Book (1889).
The following is a list of the major publications of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). 142 volumes comprise the entirety of his literary output, ranging from the poetical to the philosophical, including 50 volumes of correspondence.
Weimar Classicism was a German literary and cultural movement, whose practitioners established a new humanism, from the synthesis of ideas from Romanticism, Classicism, and the Age of Enlightenment.
The Gold-spinners is an Estonian fairy tale collected by Dr. Friedrich Kreutzwald in Eestirahwa Ennemuistesed jutud. W. F. Kirby included it in The Hero of Esthonia, and Andrew Lang, under the title The Water-lily. The Gold Spinners, in The Blue Fairy Book.
The Enchanted moura or, moura encantada is a supernatural being from the fairy tales of Portuguese and Galician folklore. Very beautiful and seductive, she lives under an imposed occult spell. Shapeshifters, the mouras encantadas occupy liminal spaces and are builders with stone of formidable strength.
A Tale Of The Tontlawald is an Estonian fairy tale collected by Dr. Friedrich Kreutzwald in Eestirahwa Ennemuistesed jutud. W. F. Kirby included it, as "The Wood of Tontla" in The Hero of Esthonia. Andrew Lang included it in The Violet Fairy Book; he listed his source as Ehstnische Märchen, which was the German translation of Kreutzwald's work, by F. Löwe.
The Imp Prince is a French fairy tale written by Marie Catherine d'Aulnoy and published in her book Fairy Tales in 1697.
"My Lord Bag of Rice" is a fairy tale about a hero who kills a giant centipede, Ōmukade, to help a Japanese dragon princess, and is rewarded in her underwater Ryūgū-jō 龍宮城 "dragon palace castle".
The Enchanted Snake or The Snake is an Italian fairy tale. Giambattista Basile wrote a variant in the Pentamerone. Andrew Lang drew upon this variant, for inclusion in The Green Fairy Book.
Märchen is the German diminutive of the obsolete German word Mär, meaning "news, tale". It may refer to:
Hermann Linde was a German painter in the Symbolist style. He specialized in "Oriental" themes.
Rudolf Steiner wrote four plays that follow the initiation journeys of a group of fictional characters through a series of lives. These plays were intended to be modern mystery plays. Steiner outlined the plot of a fifth play to be set at the Castalian spring at Delphi, but due to the outbreak of First World War, this remained an unfulfilled project.
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