Download Kleist's Aristocratic Heritage and Das Käthchen Von by William C. Reeve PDF

By William C. Reeve

William Reeve offers a close textual research of Heinrich von Kleist's drama "Das Kaethchen von Heilbronn", demonstrating that Kleist drew its poetic photographs, subject matters and basic surroundings from the Prussian aristocratic classification into which he were born. Reeve's finished re-reading of Kaethchen throws mild at the enigmas and textual incongruities that experience questioned Kleist's commentators some time past. This research makes use of the version of the aristocrat which pulls upon Nietzsche's "Was ist vornehm" and the works of Anthony Ludovici, Karl Kautsky and others. the writer examines Kleist's use of symbolic and descriptive names, displaying how they emphasize his ties to the aristocracy, and compares Kleist's drama to 2 different performs that includes socially forbidden love, Friedrich Schiller's "Kabale und Liebe" and Christian Friedrich Hebbel's "Agnes Bernauer".

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Extra info for Kleist's Aristocratic Heritage and Das Käthchen Von Heilbronn

Sample text

22 Indeed, the belief in distinction and superiority based on heredity has been the most consistent feature of the aristocratic philosophy throughout history underlying, for instance, Ludovici's twentieth-century apology, A Defence of Aristocracy: "For the voice one has and the desires and wants it expresses are not a question of chance or upbringing, they are a question of the body with which one's ancestors have endowed one. " (711-4). Although Kleist initially presents Kathchen as a "Kind des Volkes,"25 he also drops several hints which, in view of the drama's conclusion, clearly anticipate the revelation of her aristocratic roots: "Ein Wesen von zarterer, frommerer und lieberer Art miifit ihr euch nicht denken, und ka'mt ihr, auf Fliigeln der Einbildung, zu den lieben, kleinen Engeln, die, mit hellen Augen, aus den Wolken, unter Gottes Ha'nden und Fiifien hervorgucken" (69-73).

As a knight, he would never consider combat with someone below his station, and only the Emperor has the authority to transform an armourer into a "Ritter" by his mere decree. Strahl's recognition of the Emperor's power to override traditional social conventions52 is an anticipation of his willingness to accept Kathchen as his wife, provided that his liege lord acknowledges her publicly as his daughter. This same respect for class distinction appears in another section of Strahl's testimony. Informed by Gottschalk of Kathchen's request to sleep in his stables, he replied: "Bei den Pferden?

WENZEL. Allerdings! DER GRAF VOM STRAHL glutrot, indem CT sich zum Kathchen wendet. Knie nieder! Kathchen laflt sich auf Knieen vor ihm nieder. GRAF OTTO. Ihr seid sehr dreist, Herr Friedrich Graf vom Strahl! DBS GRAF VOM STRAHL zum Kathchen. So! Recht! Mir gibst du Antwort und sonst keinem. HANS. Erlaubt! Wir [Kleist's emphasis] werden sie DER GRAF VOM STRAHL ebenso. Du ruhrst dich nicht! Hier soil dich keiner richten, als nur der, Dem deine Seele frei sich unterwirft. "53 His selfconfident, defiant attitude is only possible because of his class consciousness, and there are unmistakable signs that he secretly enjoys and glories in the power he wields over Kathchen: "DER GRAF VOM STRAHL mil unterdruckter Heftigkeit.

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