The Woman without a Shadow is both the title of an opera resulting from the collaboration between Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the composer Richard Strauss in the three years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War, and that of a fairy tale in which the writer, from 1912 to 1919, reworked the subject of the libretto. With a specific focus on the second version, this essay sets out to describe how, beyond the complex symbolism of the formal structure (which initially makes one think of an artistic product finely crafted, but completely unrelated to historical reality), Hofmannsthal’s fairy tale is actually intimately connected to the cultural and ‘social’ project developed by the author during the years of the First World War. It was this project that gave rise to the veritable ‘mythology of the social’ that lies at the heart of this fairy tale, in which Hofmannsthal revisits the very cornerstones of Romantic aesthetics and gives them a modern twist.

A Romantic Fairy Tale and Its Social Purpose in Times of War: The Woman without a Shadow by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Cristina Fossaluzza
2022-01-01

Abstract

The Woman without a Shadow is both the title of an opera resulting from the collaboration between Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the composer Richard Strauss in the three years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War, and that of a fairy tale in which the writer, from 1912 to 1919, reworked the subject of the libretto. With a specific focus on the second version, this essay sets out to describe how, beyond the complex symbolism of the formal structure (which initially makes one think of an artistic product finely crafted, but completely unrelated to historical reality), Hofmannsthal’s fairy tale is actually intimately connected to the cultural and ‘social’ project developed by the author during the years of the First World War. It was this project that gave rise to the veritable ‘mythology of the social’ that lies at the heart of this fairy tale, in which Hofmannsthal revisits the very cornerstones of Romantic aesthetics and gives them a modern twist.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5011840
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