Edouard Schure

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Eduard (Édouard) Schuré (January 21, 1841 in Strasbourg – April 7, 1929 in Paris) was a French philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, music critic, and publicist of esoteric literature.

Biography

Schuré was the son of a doctor in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg. He mastered French as well as German, and was influenced by German and French culture in his formative years. Without interest, he studied law at his fathers pleasure. His own interest and studies led to an extensive knowledge of German literature. The discovery of Richard Wagner's "music drama" Tristan and Isolde impressed him sufficiently to seek—and obtain—Wagner's personal acquaintance.

In France, he published his first work Histoire du Lied—a history of the German folk song, which earned him some recognition in the country of his family. With the publication of the essay Richard Wagner et le drame musical, he established himself as a major French Wagner expert and advocate of the time.

When the Franco-German war of 1870-71 poisoned the German arts for many French, it would seem that Schuré was not immune from this influence. His nationalism is reflected in his remarks of this time—and later in his life—in a comparison of glorified Celtism (France) and a negatively viewed "Teutonism" (Germany).

On a trip to Italy during this time he met, twenty years his junior, a Greek girl, Marguerita Albana Mignaty, whom he subsequently described as his "muse", although he himself was married.

After the tide of war had ebbed, Schuré reestablished his relationship with Wagner. In 1873, he met the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche; with frequent contact they shared enthusiasm for Wagner. The cultist veneration of Wagner, however, seeded Schuré's alienation from the composer.

Schuré now turned increasingly to the esoteric and the occult. His major influence being the famous French occultist-scholar Fabre d'Olivet. In 1884, he met the founder of the Theosophical Society Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Although unwelcome in the Theosophical Society, he nevertheless entered. In 1889, he published, after some smaller works on similar topics, his major work Les Grands Initiés (The Great Initiates).

In 1900, the actress Marie von Sivers came into contact with him because she intended to translate one of his works into German. At the German Section of the Theosophical Society, he met the Austrian philosopher and later founder of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner. In 1906, Sivers brought about a meeting between Schuré and Steiner. Schuré was deeply impressed and thought of Steiner as one 'initiated' in line with his The Great Initiates. Subsequently, Steiner and von Sivers brought the esoteric Schuré dramas to the stage.

With the outbreak of World War I, Schuré's relationship with Steiner and his wife became strained. Schuré threw in the two secret intentions about Germanic and Pan and stepped out of Steiner's Anthroposophical Society. Four years after the war, Schuré reconsolidated his friendship with Steiner.

In subsequent years, Schuré published his autobiography and a French translation of Steiner's work Christianity as Mystical Fact as well as The Mysteries of Antiquity chrétien (French: Le Mystère et les mystères antiques).
Esoteric and literary meaning

Schuré's The Great Initiates is described by some as a masterpiece. In it, he describes the path allegedly followed by some of the ancient philosophers in search of profound esoteric knowledge, often called the "initiation", as describing the process of becoming a mystic master or spiritual healer.

Those familiar with Rama, [Hermes Trismegistus Hermes Trismegistus, Socrates, Jesus, Orpheus will find frequent references in Schuré's work. Schuré pursued the notion that a secret esoteric knowledge was known to them all, that this group were among the pillars of civilization and represented the founders of spiritual and philosophical ways of being as well as in some cases—though contrary to their message—religions. Schuré recognized that the path to a harmonious world was not to be found through a bigoted denial of the value found by other civilizations in their own sages. He wanted people to recognize the value of democracy in spiritual, philosophical, and religious ways. That is—according to him—the case of Gautama Sidharta.

Schuré wrote a considerable number of books and plays. His plays enjoyed relative fame in his days in Europe, and many of them were put on stage by Steiner. He also influenced Sergei Prokofiev.

Philosophy

In The Great Initiates, Schuré attacked the old idea of an esoteric tradition, the original wisdom of the initiated. Specifically, he suspected some kind of traditional secret ongoing behind the philosophies and religions founded by those he described the life and teachings of in the book (Rama, Krishna, Hermes Trismegistus, Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and Jesus). Unlike older, going back to Plato variants of this idea Schuré moved the beginning of the chain of transmission from Persia to India (Rama), like other mystics of the late 19th Century did (the most significant Madame H. P. Blavatsky).
Works (selection)

Original editions

    Histoire du Lied ou la chanson populaire en Allemagne, 1868
    Le drame musical. Richard Wagner, son œuvre et son idée, 2 volumes, 1875
    Les Grands Initiés. Esquisse de l'histoire secrète des religions, 1889
    Le drame sacré d'Eleusis, 1890
    Sanctuaries d'Orient, Paris 1898
    Les grandes légendes de France, Paris, 1893
    Les Enfants de Lucifer, 1900
    Précurseurs et revolt, Paris, 1904
    La Prêtresse d'Isis (Légende de Pompeii), 1907
    Femmes et inspiratrices poètes annonciateurs, Paris, 1908
    L'évolution du sphinx au divine Christ, 1912
    Les prophète de la renaissance, 1920
    Celtique L'âme et le génie de la France à travers les Ages, Paris 1920
    Merlin l'enchanteur, Paris, 1921
    Le rêve d'une vie. Confession d'un poète (autobiography), 1928

Works available in English

    History of Musical Drama
    Ricardo Wagner his Work and Ideas
    The Great Initiates
    The Divine Evolution and the Great Initiates
    Rama y Moises: The Aryan Cycle and The Mission of Israel
    The Mystery of Dionysos and the Sacred Drama of Eleusis

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