The Plays of Heinrich von Kleist. Ideals and Illusions

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This is a new and accessible study of the plays of Kleist (1777-1811), who ranks with Goethe and Schiller amongst nineteenth-century authors and who has been a major influence on contemporary German writers. Sean Allan examines Kleist's critique of the aspirations of both Enlightenment and Romantic metaphysics, notably his suggestion that the pursuit of 'transcendent' ideals of perfection constitutes a formidable obstacle to genuine progress in human affairs. In so doing, he offers resolutions of a number of long-running controversies in Kleist criticism, as well as summarizing the state of research on all the plays. The book includes discussion of two plays usually neglected by scholars - Das Kathchen von Heilbronn and Die Hermannsschlacht. All quotations are given in both German and English and full references are given to published English translations of Kleist's works as well as to the German originals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages315
ISBN (Print)9780521025041
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1996


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