|Saint-Simon, from painting by |
In The Saint-Simonian Religion in Germany, the prolific E.M. Butler wrote about the sympathizers of the movement in Germany, including the Varnhagens, Heine, and several "Young Germany" writers. It is marvelous to witness Goethe, during the last years of his life, from 1829 to 1832, engaging with this new social manifestation. Saint-Simonism was a young man's movement, his followers having included young men who turned out to be up-and-coming. First among them was Auguste Comte, who later betrayed the master. According to Butler, France suffered at the beginning of the 19th century from "great spiritual depression. ... The fierce joy of those who had slain the giants of oppression and superstition [i.e., the French revolutionaries] could not warm the hearts of their sons."
|Barthelmy Prospher Enfantin,|
follower of Saint-Simon
At the same time, Goethe felt sympathy for the Saint-Simonian analysis of contemporary social relations, e.g., excessive competition, the exploitation and impoverishment of the working population, the workers' increasing social "declassification," and the overriding role to be played in the future by technology and industrialization.
This is getting too long-winded for today. I hope to add more on this subject in my next posting.
Picture credit: Dark Government;