German teacher of romance language and literature Ernst Robert Curtius (1886–1956) is mainly known for his opus magnum European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages from 1948 (engl. 1953). In the preface of this work he declares, that it is not motivated by scientifi c interests only, but by care for the understandingof the western tradition, which, for him, means humanistic tradition. His concept of humanism he had developed sixteen years earlier in his book Deutscher Geistin Gefahr (German Spirit in Danger). Its core idea is that because what we are to a wide extent is the result of the past; understanding of our past means understanding of ourselves. Its aim is – in a broad sense – an ethical one: orientation of one’s life conduct, which must be open to a religious perspective. Its result is a more intense experience of reality, which means joy.
|Frank Töpfer: Selbstbegegnung in der Geschichte. Zum Begriff des Humanismus bei Ernst Robert Curtius||91|