"For the Rammstein album, see Sehnsucht (album). For other uses, see Sehnsucht (disambiguation)

Sehnsucht is a German word that literally means "longing" or in a wider sense a kind of "intensely missing". However, Sehnsucht is almost impossible to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional status quo. The stage director and author Georg Tabori called Sehnsucht one of those quasi-mystical terms in German for which there is no satisfactory corresponding term in another language.cite web |url= |title=When Sehnsucht (desire) leads you up the garden path |format= |work= |accessdate=] It is this close relationship (encapsulated in one word) between ardent longing or yearning ("das Sehnen") and addiction ("die Sucht" ) that lurks behind each longing, waiting to turn the feeling into a destructive, self-defeating force.cite web |url= |title=When Sehnsucht (desire) leads you up the garden path |format= |work= |accessdate=] Sehnsucht took on a particular meaning in the work of author C. S. Lewis.

Lewis denotes by Sehnsucht the "inconsolable longing" in the human heart for "we know not what." In the Afterword to the third edition of The Pilgrim's Regress he provides examples of what sparked this desire in him particularly. Lewis talks about

That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of "The Well at the World's End", the opening lines of "Kubla Khan", the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.cite web |url= |title=Calvin College - Faith - Resources |format= |work= |accessdate=]

It is sometimes felt as a longing for a far off country, but not a particular earthly land which we can identify. Furthermore there is something in the experience which suggests this far off country is very familiar and indicative of what we might otherwise call "home". In this sense it is a type of nostalgia, in the original sense of that word. At other times it may seem as a longing for a someone or even a something. But the majority of people who experience it are not conscious of what or who the longed for object may be. Indeed, the longing is of such profundity and intensity that the subject may immediately be only aware of the emotion itself and not cognizant that there is a something longed "for".

The concept of Sehnsucht in Lewis' writings

The key ingredient of the experience, as Lewis treats it, is that this longing—never fulfilled—is itself sweeter than the fulfillment of any other human desire. Another feature is that it is so deeply personal that it does not occur to the one feeling it that others would have similar experiences and so is rarely communicated verbally. For most people it is something which cannot be put into words. Indeed the present description of Sehnsucht is itself inadequate and is only suggestive of it. Yet, though difficult to define, Lewis maintained that this is a universal experience.

In [ The Weight of Glory] Lewis says

:"In speaking of this desire for our own faroff country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not" in "them, it only came" through "them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."

Another feature of Sehnsucht, as we see in the preceding quote, is that one may have the impression that in childhood we were much closer to a grasp of the object of the Sehnsucht-longing whereas now we have only the remembrance of it, or even merely the shadow of a remembrance. There is regret in that we no longer know what we long for, if we ever did. So, for instance, in "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd we hear

:"When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,":"Out of the corner of my eye.":"I turned to look but it was gone.":"I cannot put my finger on it now.":"The child is grown, the dream is gone.":"I have become comfortably numb."

In The Problem of Pain, Lewis focuses again on the apparent uniqueness of the "object" of each person's longing.

:"You have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw—but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported . . . All the things that have deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it—tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest—if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself—you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say 'Here at last is the thing I was made for.' We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want . . . which we shall still desire on our deathbeds . . . Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. "

Thus, any attempt by the artist to "evoke" Sehnsucht in the viewer is likely to fail. We each may have such a remembrance but that which does the reminding will differ too much from person to person. As the above quote illustrates, Lewis personally identified the true object of Sehnsucht-longing with God and Heaven. As such it is a starting point for the Argument from Desire. It played a central role in his own conversion from atheism to Christianity as is described in the autobiographical Surprised by Joy.

To the reader who grasps Lewis' meaning and identifies Sehnsucht in his own experience it may come as a surprise to find so little explicit discussion of the Sehnsucht experience in other writers (that is, other than those who are discussing Lewis), whether labeled as "Sehnsucht" or not. On the rare occasions we do find it, the writers, especially poets, will more often convey the experience as personally significant but are seemingly unaware that it is a universal human experience; they describe their experience as if it were unique to them, with no hint that they expect their hearers to recognize similar feelings. For example, Pink Floyd above and the following passage from St. Thérèse de Lisieux's [ autobiography]

:"Let me suppose that I had been born in a land of thick fogs, and had never seen the beauties of nature, or a single ray of sunshine, although I had heard of these wonders from my early youth, and knew that the country wherein I dwelt was not my real home—there was another land, unto which I should always look forward. ... From the time of my childhood I felt that one day I should be set free from this land of darkness. I believed it, not only because I had been told so by others, but my heart’s most secret and deepest longings assured me that there was in store for me another and more beautiful country—an abiding dwelling place. I was like Christopher Columbus, whose genius anticipated the discovery of the New World. And suddenly the mists about me have penetrated my very soul and have enveloped me so completely that I cannot even picture to myself this promised country … all has faded away. "

See also

* Saudade
* Romanticism


*Harvard reference|Surname1=Bruner|Given1=Kurt|Surname2=Ware|Given2=Jim|Year=2005|Title=Finding God in the Land of Narnia|Place=|Publisher=Tyndale House |ID=ISBN 0-8423-8104-X|URL=

External links

* [ C. S. Lewis on Joy, Sehnsucht, Longing and True Myth]

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См. также в других словарях:

  • Sehnsucht — Sehnsucht …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Sehnsucht — hinter Mauern Sehnsucht (mhd. „sensuht“, als „krankheit des schmerzlichen verlangens“[1]) ist ein inniges Verlangen nach einer Person oder Sache, die man liebt oder begehrt. Sie ist mit dem schmerzhaften Gefühl verbunden, den Gegenstand der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sehnsucht — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos, véase Sehnsucht (desambiguación). Sehnsucht Álbum de Rammstein Publicación 22 de agosto, 1997 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sehnsucht — имеет следующие значения: Sehnsucht (романтизм) Sehnsucht (альбом Rammstein) альбом группы «Rammstein». Sehnsucht (песня) песня группы «Rammstein» с одноимённого альбома. Sehnsucht (альбом Schiller) альбом проекта «Schiller». Sehnsucht (альбом… …   Википедия

  • Sehnsucht — Album par Rammstein Sortie 22 août 1997 Enregistrement Temple Studios Malte, 1997 Durée 44:00 Genre Metal industriel allemand …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sehnsucht —         (нем.) стремление, томление. Философский энциклопедический словарь. М.: Советская энциклопедия. Гл. редакция: Л. Ф. Ильичёв, П. Н. Федосеев, С. М. Ковалёв, В. Г. Панов. 1983 …   Философская энциклопедия

  • Sehnsucht — Sehnsucht, das gespannte od. gesteigerte Verlangen nach einem erst in der Zukunft erreichbaren Gegenstande, verbunden mit einem Gefühl von Schmerz, bei dem Gedanken denselben nicht unmittelbar erreichen zu können, u. von Luft, bei dem Gedanken an …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sehnsucht — es el segundo álbum de la banda alemana de Industrial metal Rammstein, lanzado el 22 de agosto de 1997 …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sehnsucht — Gier; Bedürfnis; Verlangen; Begehren; Drang; Sehnen; Begierde; Bedarf; Wunschtraum; Herzenswunsch; Herzensbedürfnis * * * Sehn|sucht [ ze:nzʊxt] …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sehnsucht — Jedesmal, wenn die Romantik sich einer Sache bemächtigt und Gloriolen um sie webt, dann ist deren Zeit schon vorüber, und die Sehnsucht nur macht aus der Erinnerung einen wünschenswerten Zukunftstraum. «Carl von Ossietzky» Die Sehnsucht läßt alle …   Zitate - Herkunft und Themen

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