Heinrich von Kleist: The Ambiguity of Art and the Necessity of Form

Hardcover | June 1, 1998

byHilda Meldrum Brown

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This book presents an integrated approach to the literary and non-literary writings of the major German author, Heinrich von Kleist. Analysis of Kleist's early letters, in particular, illuminates the oblique and unique processes by which he became aware of his vocation; simultaneously offeringnew perspectives from which to approach the works themselves. The discipline of recording observations based on visits to art galleries and travels through landscapes and towns in Prussia, Saxony, and Franconia stimulated Kleist's imagination, providing sets and scenarios which brought him graduallyto an awareness of his innate dramatic talents. On a more theoretical level, he was led to speculate about the problem of illusion in art at the same time as he was wrestling with the epistemological implications of Kantian philosophy. The negative aspects of illusion which he drew from the latterwere complemented by a new-found confidence in his ability as an artist to impart to the 'fragility' of the human condition a degree of fixity through form and structure and the coherence and control associated with verbal devices such as paradox and irony. These principles are shown to operate tovarying degrees in all Kleist's works, and to gain in subtlety and depth, nowhere more than in his final masterpiece, Prinz Friedrich von Homburg.

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This book presents an integrated approach to the literary and non-literary writings of the major German author, Heinrich von Kleist. Analysis of Kleist's early letters, in particular, illuminates the oblique and unique processes by which he became aware of his vocation; simultaneously offeringnew perspectives from which to approach the...

Hilda Brown is at St Hilda's College, Oxford.

other books by Hilda Meldrum Brown

Format:HardcoverPublished:June 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198158955

ISBN - 13:9780198158950

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Table of Contents

Note on Translations and AbbreviationsIntroduction1. The Letters2. The Occasional Writings3. The Erzahlungen4. The DramasConclusionBibliographyIndex

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