By Bernd Fischer
For over one hundred fifty years, Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) has been probably the most largely learn and played German authors. His prestige within the literary canon is firmly demonstrated, yet he has consistently been one among Germany's such a lot contentiously mentioned authors. Today's severe debate on his specific prose narratives and dramas is as heated as ever. Many critics regard Kleist as a lone presager of the aesthetics and philosophies of past due 19th- and early twentieth-century modernism. but there should be no doubt that he responds in his works and letters to the philosophical, aesthetic, and political debates of his time. over the past thirty years, the scholarship on Kleist's paintings and lifestyles has departed from the existentialist wave of the Nineteen Fifties and early Nineteen Sixties and spread out new avenues for coming to phrases along with his strange expertise. the current quantity brings jointly crucial and leading edge of those more moderen scholarly ways: the essays contain significantly trained, updated interpretations of Kleist's most-discussed tales and dramas. different contributions research Kleist's literary ability and types and their theoretical underpinnings. They contain articles on Kleist's narrative and theatrical procedure, poetic and aesthetic concept, philosophical and political concept, and insights from new biographical learn. participants: Jeffrey L. Sammons, Jost Hermand, Anthony Stephens, Bianca Theisen, Hinrich C. Seeba, Bernhard Greiner, Helmut J. Schneider, Tim Mehigan, Susanne Zantop, Hilda M. Brown, and Seán Allan. Bernd Fischer is Professor of German and Head of the dep. of German at Ohio nation college.
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Extra info for A Companion to the Works of Heinrich von Kleist (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
Although he is, presumably, the creator and governor of the world, he is unfulfilled and forlorn, unsatisfied by the company of Olympians such as Merkur — and, one supposes, the unmentioned consort Juno — and, therefore, longs for the love of his beautiful creature Alkmene and her acknowledgment of it, differentiated and elevated from her attachment to her husband. What is going on here? Whether or not Kleist intended to satirize the quasi-Goethean pantheism, as Mommsen has pungently argued (19–22), may be undecidable, but the aporias that attend its articulation effectively deconstruct it.
Perhaps we do not always understand Kleist’s sense of humor, which may be as bizarre, or as infected with bitterness, as the rest of his “apocalyptic” mental disposition (cf. Fetscher 124–26). Not only is his comedy tragic; his tragedy is comic: Helbling has pointed out in connection with Der zerbrochne Krug that “the very themes and motifs central to his tragedies are equally germane to the spirit of comedy” (119). ”(107), asks Guthke. One may recall the story that Kleist (and his listeners) broke out in uncontrollable laughter when reading the grim and gruesome Familie Schroffenstein aloud (cf.
Ich schlag dich todt” (as cited by Sembdner 1974, 39). The inference that the interpreters seem to want to evade is that Merkur comes out of the same realm as Jupiter, whatever that may be. 519) to lengthen the night of Jupiter’s bliss. Fetscher argues: “In Haltung, Gefühls- und Bewußtseinslage hat Kleist die beiden Götter weit voneinander abgesetzt” (54). But this is not logical. It seems to me, rather, that the radically malevolent Merkur is an index to the realm from which Jupiter also comes.