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In 1794, Friedrich Schiller declared that "beauty is the only possible expression of freedom in phenomena." German Freedom and the Greek Ideal traces this German idea of freedom from the late Enlightenment through the early twentieth century. It focuses on the stars of German intellectual and artistic life in the nineteenth century, with illuminating accounts of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gottfried Semper, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Thomas Mann. Delving deeply into their works, McGrath shows how they invoked the ancient Greeks to in order to inspire Germans to cultural renewal and to enrich their understanding of freedom as something deeper and more urgent than political life could offer.