Kleist's Aristocratic Heritage and "Das Kathchen von Heilbronn"
By: William C. Reeve (author)Hardback
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Kleist was an important dramatist at the beginning of the nineteenth century and Kathchen 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 Kathchen, 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 Kathchen 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 Kathchen, 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 Kathchen von Heilbronn.
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- ID: 9780773508699
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