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Philosophical and Aesthetic Conception of Helen’s Image in Goethe’s Tragedy “Faust” and Mythological Opera by Hofmannsthal “The Egyptian Helen”

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2013. Vol. 2. No. 2. Pp. 159-167.
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Sharypina T. A.
N. I. Lobachevsky Nizhny Novgorod State University
23 Gagarin Street, 603950, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Email: kafzl@уа


The analysis concerns the interpretation of the story about Helen of Troy in the Goethe tragedy “Faust” and in the Hofmannsthal mythological opera “The Egyptian Helen” in terms of succession and development of philosophical and aesthetic conception of image. For the first time the work on the opera “The Egyptian Helen” is considered as a fruitful period of the combined creation of Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss on the basis of Nietzsche’s antiquity reception. It is proved, that in the Hofmannsthal’s philosophical and aesthetic views the conception of the opera “Helen” is the symbol of synthesis of opposite view points on antique perception of the world and the basic sources of the ancient Greek art. The light Olympic Greece of Winckelmann and Goethe and the spontaneous titanism, Dionysus’s ecstasy and Nietzsche’s, Burckhardt’s, Bachofen’s archaic mysticism merged in Helen’s “Mystic wedding”. The basis for such unification serves an invincible life instinct of an ancient Greek, who becomes apparent in ability to moral transformation and revival by force of overcoming inevitable things in human existence of suffering.


  • • myth
  • • mythological opera
  • • interpretation
  • • plot
  • • philosophical and aesthetic concept


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