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Heinrich von Kleist and Modernity


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Modernity, according to some views, poses the problem of homo politicus -- the problem of how to act in a moral universe without a "master narrative," without a final foundation. From this angle, the oeuvre of Heinrich von Kleist -- novellas, dramas, and essays -- addresses problems emerging from a new universe of Kantian provenance, in many ways the same universe we inhabit today.
This volume of new essays investigates Kleist's position in our ever-changing conception of modernity, employing aesthetic, narrative, philosophical, biographical, political, economic, anthropological, psychological, and cultural approaches and wrestling with the difficulties of historicizing Kleist's life and work. Central questions are: To what extent can the multitude of breaking points and turning points, endgames and pre-games, ruptures and departures that permeate Kleist's work and biography be conceptually bundled together and linked to the emerging paradigm of modernity? And to what extent does such an approach to Kleist not only advance understanding of this major German writer and his work, but also shed light on the nature of our present modernity?

Contributors: Seán Allan, Peter Barton, Hilda Meldrum Brown, David Chisholm, Andreas Gailus, Bernhard Greiner, Jeffrey L. High, Anette Horn, Peter Horn, Wolf Kittler, Jonathan W. Marshall, Christian Moser, Dorothea von Mücke, Nancy Nobile, David Pan, Ricarda Schmidt, Helmut J. Schneider.

Bernd Fischer is Professor of German at the Ohio State University. Tim Mehigan is Professor of German in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Otago, New Zealand.


This outstanding collection of essays . . . is an excellent indicator of the state of contemporary Kleist scholarship. Written by some of the foremost Kleist experts, the contributors display a wide methodological range . . . . [P]rovides readers novel insights into what constitutes Kleist's modernity and how his writings participate in modernity's emerging literary, philosophical, and scientific discourses. . . . No matter what methodological predisposition readers have, they will encounter fascinating new insights into the life and work of an author whose unique if enigmatic status is still growing two hundred years after his death. MONATSHEFTE

Excellent insights into Kleist's contemporary relevance. . . . This lively, interesting collection offers great benefit to advanced scholars. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. CHOICE


First Published: 22 Dec 2011
13 Digit ISBN: 9781571135063
Pages: 314
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Camden House
BIC Class: DSB

Details updated on 04 May 2016


  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Zu Ende schreiben: Ultimative Strategien im Schaffen Kleists
  • 3  "Sein Nahen ist ein Wehen aus der Ferne": Ottokar's Leap in Die Familie Schroffenstein
  • 4  The Fragmented Picture and Kleist's Zerbrochner Krug
  • 5  "So glaubst du jetzt, da ich dir Wahrheit gab?" Gender, Power and the Performance of Justice in Kleist's Der zerbrochne Krug
  • 6  Recht als Krieg: Moderne Staatlichkeit und die Aporienlegalistischer Herrschaft bei Heinrich von Kleist
  • 7  Representing the Nation in Heinrich von Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg
  • 8  Herrschaftsgenealogie und Staatsgemeinschaft: Zu Kleists Dramaturgie der Moderne im Prinzen von Homburg
  • 9  Changing Perceptions of Modernity in Nineteenth-CenturyGerman Theater from Goethe to Wagner, with Reference to Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg
  • 10  Weiblicher Sadismus, Wutwelt des Liebes-Urwalds, Geschlechtskampf, absolutes Gefühl: Die Penthesilea-Rezeptionin der Moderne
  • 11  Prosodic and Dramatic Tension in the Blank-Verse Dramas of Heinrich von Kleist
  • 12  Crisis, Denial, and Outrage: Kleist (Schiller, Kant) and the Path to the German Novella(s) of Modernity
  • 13  Das Gespenst der Armut: "Das Bettelweib von Locarno" - Zwischen traditioneller christlicher, kantisch aufgeklärter undmoderner marxistischer Auffassung
  • 14  The Problem of Knowledge and the Discourse of the Hysteric: Exploring a Lacanian Interpretation of "Die Marquise von O. . ."
  • 15  Religion nach der Aufklärung: Die heilige Cäcilie - Identität, Religion und Moderne
  • 16  Breaking Skulls: Kleist, Hegel, and the Force of Assertion
  • 17  Kleist's "Übermarionette" and Schrenck-Notzing's "Traumtänzerin": Nervous Mechanics and Hypnotic Performance under Modernism
  • 18  Falling after the Fall: The Analysis of the Infinite in Kleist's Marionette Theater
  • 19  Notes on the Contributors
  • 20  Index

Heinrich von Kleist

Heinrich von Kleist

A Companion to the Works of Heinrich von Kleist

A Companion to the Works of Heinrich von Kleist