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On Monte Verità: Myth And Modernity In The Lebensreform Movement

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Chapter Summary

Within the existing broad romantic mainstream of 'Back to Nature', a new body culture movement developed, often known under its German name Lebensreform. The movement had unambiguous religious traits: the human body itself was referred to as a sacred temple. Great value was also attached to contemplation, meditation and spirituality. The works of the historian Jan Bremmer show his consistent fascination with the phenomenon of prophets, with periods of transformation in the history of religion, and with topics related to ascetics and culture of the body. Using this Bremmerian toolkit, this chapter analyses the remarkable case of Monte Verità near Ascona in Switzerland. It discusses the construction of the 'myth of Monte Verità' and its protagonists. It then describes the interplay of religious, historical and biographical aspects in the construction of this myth, and elaborates on the precise biographical backgrounds of the most illustrious of the Mount Veritans.

Keywords: human body; Jan Bremmer; Lebensreform movement; meditation; Monte Verità; Mount Veritans



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