Kleist's Aristocratic Heritage and Das Kathchen von Heilbronn

Kleist's Aristocratic Heritage and Das Kathchen von Heilbronn

by William Reeve
     
 


Kleist was an important dramatist at the beginning of the nineteenth century and Käthchen was one of his greatest stage successes. Reeve presents a brief outline of the Kleist family involvement in the Prussian aristocracy and Kleist's reactions to his background. He also surveys the literary critics' attempts to come to terms with Käthchen, noting a…  See more details below

Overview


Kleist was an important dramatist at the beginning of the nineteenth century and Käthchen was one of his greatest stage successes. Reeve presents a brief outline of the Kleist family involvement in the Prussian aristocracy and Kleist's reactions to his background. He also surveys the literary critics' attempts to come to terms with Käthchen, noting a revisionist trend which associates Kleist with the bourgeois liberalism of his time. While acknowledging the influence of the German Enlightenment, Reeve argues that the most significant influence on Kleist was his noble heritage. Reeve's close textual analysis of Das Käthchen von Heilbronn uses the model of the aristocrat which draws upon Nietzsche's Was ist vornehm? and the works of Anthony Ludovici, John H. Kautsky, and others, a model which has remained virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. Reeve examines Kleist's use of symbolic and descriptive names in Käthchen, showing how they emphasize his ties to the aristocratic, and compares Kleist's drama to two other plays featuring socially forbidden love, Friedrich Schiller's Kabale und Liebe and Friedrich Hebbel's Agnes Bernauer. Despite his efforts to the contrary, Heinrich von Kleist was unable to ignore or deny his aristocratic heritage. It left an indelible mark on his works, especially, as Reeve demonstrates, Das Käthchen von Heilbronn.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[Reeve] dares to tread on uncultivated grounds. By providing a different perspective to view Kleist's works, [he] presents a fresh piece of scholarship ... a thought-provoking and significant contribution to the field of study. This is a timely [work] by an articulate, erudite scholar." Herminio Schmidt, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Wilfrid Laurier University. "goes a long way in elucidating the effects of Kleist's aristocratic heritage on specifically this one play, but also on his dramatic work generally." Monica Weber, Department of German, McGill University.
Booknews
Reeve (German, Queen's U.) provides a detailed textual analysis of Heinrich von Kleist's (1777-1811) drama, demonstrating that Kleist drew its poetic images, themes, and general atmosphere from the Prussian aristocratic class into which he had been born, and throwing light on the enigmas and textual incongruities that have puzzled Kleist's commentators in the past. Acidic paper. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780773508699
Publisher:
McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date:
09/12/1991
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

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