Download The Plays of Heinrich von Kleist: Ideals and Illusions by Sean Allan PDF

By Sean Allan

It is a new and obtainable examine of the performs of Kleist (1777-1811), a big and much-studied writer whose paintings has been hugely influential in modern German writing. Se?n Allan examines Kleist's critique of the aspirations of either Enlightenment and Romantic metaphysics, and gives resolutions of a couple of long-running controversies in Kleist feedback. The ebook comprises summaries of the kingdom of analysis on all of the performs. All quotations are given in either German and English, and whole references are given to released English translations of Kleist's works in addition to to the German originals.

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Additional info for The Plays of Heinrich von Kleist: Ideals and Illusions

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M, 36] That this is an arrangement heavily weighted in favour of the male is clearly revealed when he concludes: daB folglich das Gliick des Weibes zwar ein wichtiger und unerlaBlicher, aber nicht der einzige Gegenstand des Mannes, das Gliick des Mannes hingegen der alleinige Gegenstand der Frau ist; (SWn, 506) 32 Theyoung Kleist (that therefore a wife's happiness, though indeed an important and irremissible concern for the man, is not his only one, while the husband's happiness, contrariwise, is the sole concern of his wife;) [M, 36] At times the echoes of Rousseau's work in Kleist's correspondence can be very precise indeed.

What was preying on Kleist's mind? His embittered letter of 20 May 1802, to Wilhelmine — who had turned down his 38 TheyoungKleist invitation to join him in Switzerland — offers an important clue, for in it he makes any return to conventional society conditional upon the recognition of his success: Es ist nur ein einziger Fall in welchem ich zuriickkehre, wenn ich der Erwartung der Menschen, die ich torichter Weise durch eine Menge von prahlerischen Schritten gereizt habe, entsprechen kann . .

It should be said right at the outset that it is not likely that Kant himself would have endorsed Kleist's interpretation of his philosophy. In drawing so radical a distinction between the noumenal and phenomenal world, between the 'world-as-it-is-in-fact' and the 'world-as-it-isin-appearance', Kant appeared - at least in Kleist's reading of his work13 — to have demonstrated the impossibility of knowledge that was both absolute and objective. It is this that Kleist attempts to convey to his fiancee via the analogy of the 'green glasses' ('griine Glaser') in his despairing letter of 22 March 1801: Wenn alle Menschen statt der Augen griine Glaser hatten, so wiirden sie urteilen miissen, die Gegenstande, welche sie dadurch erblicken, sind griin — und nie wiirden sie entscheiden konnen, ob ihr Auge ihnen, die Dinge zeigt, wie sie sind, oder ob es nicht etwas zu ihnen hinzutut, was nicht ihnen, sondern dem Auge gehort.

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