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The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller by Calvin Thomas

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About the year 1492 there turns up at Brussels, at the court of
Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, a young man calling himself Warbeck. He
is ignorant of his own birth, and does not suppose himself to be of
royal blood, but he has a strong resemblance to Edward the Fourth of
England. Being herself of York blood and wishing to make trouble for the
Tudor king, Henry the Seventh, Margaret persuades the stranger to
pretend that he is the son of Edward the Fourth,--one of the two boys
supposed to have been murdered in the tower by Richard of Gloucester. He
consents to the fraud and speedily acquires a following as pretender to
the English throne. In reality Margaret despises him and merely wishes
to use him as a tool, but it soon appears that Warbeck is a man of
character who insists on playing his assumed role in a manner worthy of
an English sovereign. Preparations are made for an invasion of England
to assert his claim. Meanwhile Warbeck falls in love with Adelaide, a
princess of Brittany, for whom the imperious Margaret has other designs.
Presently a man named Simnel appears, asserting fraudulently that _he_
is a son of the fourth Edward. He and Warbeck fight a duel and Simnel is
killed. Then the real Edward Plantagenet appears, with a convincing
story of his own wonderful escape from the executioner in the Tower. A
murderous plot is concocted against the boy's life, but he is saved by
Warbeck, who acknowledges him as his rightful king. All this time
Warbeck has supposed himself to be acting a part of pure fraud; and as
he is really a man of honor, and in love with an amiable princess, the
role of deceit has become increasingly hateful to him. At last, however,
the old Earl of Kildare arrives, and from the depths of his superior
knowledge makes it plain that Warbeck is in truth a natural son of
Edward the Fourth. Thus all ends romantically and we have no adumbration
of that later scene of the year 1499, when Perkin Warbeck was drawn and
quartered at Tyburn.

From this plan it is clear that the principal stress was to fall on the
character of Warbeck, conceived as a high-minded youth entangled in an
odious lie. To quote Schiller's exact words: 'The problem of the piece
is to carry him (Warbeck) ever deeper into situations in which his
deceit brings him to despair, and to let his natural truthfulness
increase as the circumstances force him to deception.' To arouse
sympathy for such a character would have been, to say the least, a
difficult task; one cannot wonder that Schiller was perplexed by it. The
schemes indicate that his main reliance was the love-story, which would
have been very prominent. Of the other characters, the most important,
probably, was the Duchess Margaret, conceived as a selfish, overbearing,
heartless creature, in sharp contrast with the romantic Adelaide. On the
whole, judging from such imperfect data as we possess, one must regard
'Warbeck' as a far less powerful and promising design than 'Demetrius'.

Contemporaneous with 'Warbeck' and 'Demetrius', and broadly similar to
them in that it was to deal with a political adventurer and to present
an elaborate picture of intrigue in high life, is the plan of a play
which was at first called 'Count Koenigsmark'. The subject occupied the
thoughts of Schiller for some little time in the summer of 1804, until
it was dropped in favor of 'Demetrius'. Count Koenigsmark was a nobleman
who was murdered in the year 1694, at the court of Duke George I., of
Hannover, in consequence of a supposed criminal relation with the
Duchess Sophia, a princess of the house of Celle. As he mused upon the
dramatic possibilities of the story, Schiller became less interested in
Koenigsmark and more in the compromised duchess; so the name of the piece
was changed to 'The Princess of Celle'. From his extant notes and
sketches one can make out that the heroine was conceived, like Mary
Stuart, as a noble sufferer. She is a virtuous lady who is given in
marriage for political reasons to an unloved and licentious duke, whose
mistresses insult her. In her misery she makes a friend of the
chivalrous but inflammable Koenigsmark. Their relation excites suspicion,
Koenigsmark is murdered and the duchess sent to prison,--disgraced but
innocent. In prison she finds peace of soul, just as Mary Stuart finds
it in the presence of death.

Much older than any of these plans and entirely different from them, is
that of the 'Knights of Malta', which dates back to the year 1788. While
pursuing his studies for 'Don Carlos' Schiller had become greatly
interested in the story of La Valette's heroic defense of Malta in 1565.
It seemed to him to promise well for a tragedy in the Greek style,--with
a chorus, a simple plot and few characters. He began work upon it, but
was soon diverted by his historical studies. In subsequent years,
however, he returned to 'The Knights of Malta' from time to time, and as
late as 1803 was strongly minded to attempt the completion of the work.
During these fifteen years the plan underwent various changes. Although
certain aspects of the subject made it very attractive to Schiller, he
felt from the first that it lacked the 'salient point' of a good
tragedy. The extant data show him working tentatively with one idea
after another, without ever finding exactly what he wanted. This being
so, it is hardly worth while to go minutely into the history of his
plans and perplexities.

'The Knights of Malta' was to have been a poetic tragedy of heroic
devotion, friendship and self-sacrifice. The exposition, as we have it
in outline, shows,--partly by means of a chorus of 'spiritual'
knights,--the desperate plight of the besieged Christians. The crisis
requires absolute devotion to the principles of the order, but the
knights have degenerated. Two of them are quarreling over a captured
Greek girl, and so forth. La Valette, the grandmaster, institutes stern
measures of reform to restore the ancient _morale_ of the order, and
these provoke intrigue and opposition. The defenders of Fort St. Elmo
ask to be relieved, on the ground that the place cannot be held. La
Valette decides that St. Elmo must be defended to the last: it is a case
where a few must be ready to sacrifice themselves for their principles
and for the order as a whole. Among those thus sent to death is La
Valette's own son, who leaves behind a very dear friend. In the end the
defenders of St. Elmo are killed, but Malta and the order are saved. The
Turks raise the siege.

Reading this outline one has no great difficulty In seeing why
Schiller's dramatic instinct could never be satisfied with 'The Knights
of Malta'. It has no tragic climax, no point upon which the action could
be focused. As a stage-play it would have had small chance of favor, on
account of its chorus and its entire lack of female characters. Romantic
love was to be left out and friendship to take its place. But could
anything worth while have been done with the heroics of friendship after
'Don Carlos'? On the whole one must regard it as a great good fortune
for the German drama that, when Schiller was hesitating in 1796 between
'Wallenstein' and 'The Knights of Malta', the former carried the day. As
for the pseudo-antique chorus, the best that he could do with that, by
way of an experiment, was done later in 'The Bride of Messina'.

Besides those already mentioned, there are a number of other plans which
deserve a word, were it only to show the wide range of Schiller's
interest and the eagerness of his quest after variety. Thus we find him
occupied, at one time or another, with two antique themes, 'Aggripina'
and 'The Death of Themistocles'; with an Anglo-Saxon theme of the tenth
century, 'Elfride', and with a medieval romantic theme, 'The Countess of
Flanders'. Then we find two subjects that were suggested by the reading
of modern travels, 'The Ship' and 'The Filibuster'. In one the scene was
to be laid on some distant coast or island, and the plot was to
illustrate sea-life and commerce, with their characteristic types. In
the other the whole action was to take place on shipboard, bringing in a
mutiny, ship's justice, a sea-fight, trade with savages, and so forth.
Finally there are sketches of two other plays, based on the annals of
crime. In one of them, called 'The Children of the House', the hero was
to be a thorough scoundrel, whom Nemesis would impel mysteriously to a
course of conduct whereby his long hidden crimes would be discovered.
The other, entitled 'The Police', was to present a story of crime and
its discovery at Paris,--with telling realistic pictures for which
Schiller took a mass of interesting notes.

Verily, a rich collection, which shows that a good deal of Schiller
failed to find expression in the works he completed. One could wish
particularly that we had those sea-plays, and the Parisian criminal
drama. Perhaps in that case the critics who have taxed him with this or
that narrowness would have found it more difficult to make headway.

We turn now from these dramatic might-have-beens to glance at the
translations and adaptations made for the Weimar theater.[130] And first
it should be observed that in all these, without exception, Schiller's
point of view was that of a practical playwright, not that of a literary
virtuoso. His concern was to enrich the repertory of the theater with
good acting plays; plays which, when put upon the boards, would 'go',
and go with such actors and such properties as were to be had. In his
efforts to do this he was never restrained by any feeling of piety
toward his originals from making such changes as commended themselves to
his dramaturgic principles or instinct. The first work of this kind
undertaken by him at Weimar was a version of Goethe's 'Egmont', made in
1796. Iffland was starring in Weimar and wished to appear as Egmont.
Goethe was just then somewhat lukewarm toward the theater, and even if
he had not been, it was by no means hidden from him that his own
strength lay in the poetic rather than the dramatic sphere. So it was
arranged that Schiller, as a man of experience, should operate upon the
play that he had reviewed so candidly some years before. His procedure
was 'consistent but cruel', as Goethe afterward phrased it. He dropped
the role of Margaret of Parma entirely, rearranged here and there in
order to avoid a too frequent change of scene, and made a multitude of
little changes in the interest of stage effect. As to the propriety of
these alterations it is futile to argue on general grounds, since so
much depends on the point of view, and the point of view has changed.
To-day people who go to the theater to see 'Egmont' prefer to see the
play, for better or worse, as Goethe wrote it. Piety toward the author
counts more than abstract principles. For a while Schiller's version of
'Egmont' had a certain vogue in the German theaters, but it soon gave
way to an increasing preference for the original. Goethe himself was
pleased when this tendency manifested itself.

Similar considerations apply to the version of Lessing's 'Nathan',
which was made in 1801. Strangely enough, as it seems to us now,
Lessing's masterpiece had up to that time met with no favor on the
German stage. It was not so much that people objected to its
philosophic drift as that something seemed to be lacking in its
dramatic quality. Very naturally Goethe and Schiller, who were strongly
in sympathy with Lessing's tendency, were desirous of domesticating
'Nathan' on the Weimar boards. So Schiller undertook an adaptation,
taking the task very seriously. Years before, while following up the
theory of the drama in his strict and strenuous fashion, he had
convinced himself that 'Nathan' was a monstrosity; it was neither
tragedy nor comedy nor tragi-comedy, and he was opposed to a mixture of
types. In tragedy, so he had reasoned in his essay upon 'Naive and
Sentimental Poetry', _raisonnement_ is out of place; in comedy, pathos.
Lessing had yielded to the 'whim' of mixing the two. If, therefore, it
was desired to make an acceptable stage-play out of 'Nathan' it would
be advisable to modify it in the direction of tragedy by reducing its
_raisonnement_, or else to make it more like comedy by reducing its
pathos. In other words, theory had given Schiller a point of view which
is not the modern point of view. To-day no one, unless it were a
pedant, would be disposed to criticize Lessing, because, toward the end
of his days, out of the fullness of his heart and following the impulse
that was in him, he for once threw his own theories to the winds and
wrote a dramatic masterpiece of its own peculiar kind. The very fact
that it is unique is for us a part of its merit.

But now, as was pointed out in a preceding chapter, the effect of
Schiller's occupation with the drama at Weimar was to weaken his
reverence for theory and to convince him of the importance of 'keeping
the type-idea flexible in one's mind'. So when he came to adapt 'Nathan'
for the stage he proceeded much less radically than one might expect
from his previous utterances. The tendency of the play was left intact,
but many changes were made in the interest of brevity, simplicity and
rapidity of movement. To these no one can seriously object, since
Lessing's text is too long for an evening in the theater, as the matter
was regarded in those pre-Wagnerian days. Not so readily to be approved
are certain other changes which amount to a retouching of some of the
portraits with which Schiller was dissatisfied,--notably that of the
Sultan Saladin.

Of much greater interest than either of these adaptations is that of
'Macbeth', which was made in January and February, 1800. This particular
tragedy of Shakspere had always been a favorite with Schiller, and its
influence is discernible in some of his plays, especially in
'Wallenstein'. It was only natural, therefore, at a time when Goethe and
Schiller were reaching out in every direction for the enrichment of
their theatrical repertory, that the staging of 'Macbeth' should appear
as a consummation devoutly to be wished. There were already German
versions which had been used at various theaters, but they were wretched
travesties of Shakspere. In setting out to make a new and better one,
Schiller took as the basis of his operations the translations of Wieland
and of Eschenburg, following now the one and now the other. When he was
half through with his labor he procured the English text and used it
thereafter as a corrective. He added, subtracted and rearranged at will,
and converted Shakspere's prose into verse. The result is a decidedly
Schilleresque 'Macbeth', the merit of which has been debated to this
day. The Romanticists, with A. W. Schlegel at their head, were disgusted
with it and did not hide their emotions. Others have defended it through
thick and thin. The questions involved are too far-reaching to be
discussed here, but it may at least be remarked that there is no ground
for a severely unfavorable judgment of Schiller's work. It is in no
sense a translation and is not to be judged as a literary performance at
all, but as a stage-play. As such it served its purpose very well; it
made Shakspere acceptable at Weimar in the only way then possible under
the circumstances. And it helped bring Shakspere into favor elsewhere.
The Schillerized 'Macbeth' may be regarded as a sort of necessary
transition-stage between the gross travesties of an earlier time and the
more faithful presentations that were to come.

With respect to 'Turandot' a few words must suffice. This again grew out
of the laudable desire of the duumvirs to acclimate in Weimar dramatic
productions that had pleased the public in other climes. Gozzi's
so-called _fiabe_ belonged to this class. They had had a great though
short-lived vogue at Venice, and this had led to a German translation in
prose by a man named Werthes. What Schiller did was to turn the prose of
Werthes into pentameters of the style that he had made peculiarly his
own. He seems not to have looked at the Italian text at all, and indeed
it could have been of little use to him. As one would expect, he made an
attempt to give some poetic weight to the fantastic trifle, but it was a
thankless undertaking, albeit good Italian critics have praised his
'Turandot' as far superior to the original. The comic-opera subject, for
such it really is, was not adapted to Schiller's vein. His 'Turandot' is
distinctly stiff and operose. It had a short run at two or three
theaters, where, as at Weimar, it excited a small interest on account of
the riddles and the Chinese 'business', and then it was quietly
consigned to the limbo of things that were.

The remaining adaptations made by Schiller were from the French, a
language which he knew better than any other except his own. The Duke of
Weimar, and with him a considerable portion of the Weimar public, had
retained from early education a strong predilection for the French
drama, both in comedy and in the _haute tragedie_. It was thus a cause
of joy in court circles when it became known, in the autumn of 1799,
that Goethe had so far overcome his early anti-Gallic prejudices as to
have undertaken a translation for the stage of Voltaire's 'Mahomet'. To
this enterprise, however, he was moved not so much by any change of
heart, or by poetic sympathy, as by a desire to improve the style of the
Weimar actors,--to teach them ideality and self-abnegation. With this
purpose Schiller was in hearty accord, as can be seen from his verses
'To Goethe', written in January, 1800, in which he set forth his
dramatic confession of faith. The Frenchman, he declared with unction,
could by no means serve them as a model; there must be no bringing back
of the old fetters. The Germans had advanced to a new era, and demanded
now a faithful picture of nature. Nevertheless their histrionic art was
in a backward condition, lacking in ideality and distinction. Wherefore
the French tragedy was to be welcomed as a 'guide to the better'. It was
to come 'like a departed spirit and purify the desecrated stage into a
worthy seat of the ancient Melpomene'.

The result of this new _rapprochement_ was that Schiller began to take a
more lively interest in the French drama, and out of this interest grew
presently his translations of two of Picard's comedies, 'Mediocre et
Rampant' and 'Encore des Menechmes'. In both he took his task very
lightly. Picard's alexandrines, in 'Mediocre et Rampant', were converted
into German prose, and the play was christened 'The Parasite'. In the
case of the other, renamed 'The Nephew as Uncle', the original was in
prose and Schiller merely made a free translation. These enterprises
were little more than hackwork, which had its suitable reward of brief
popularity. Of an entirely different character is the version of
Racine's 'Phedre', which, as we have seen, was finished a few weeks
before Schiller's death. Here we have for the first time what can
properly be called a poetic translation. To a large extent Schiller's
version is a line-for-line rendering of the French alexandrines into
German pentameters,--a thing by no means easy to do. 'Phedra' is by far
the best specimen we have of Schiller's powers as a translator.


[Footnote 129: In the year 1805 it was still usual at Weimar to have the
bodies of the dead borne to the grave in the night by hired workmen. On
the death of Schiller the burgomaster gave orders in accordance with the
custom, and it was with some difficulty that friends of the dead man
succeeded in displacing the guild on which the lot had fallen and
securing for themselves the privilege of acting as bearers. While lying
in the old churchyard the bones of Schiller became commingled with
others in the vault, so that the proper reassembling of his mortal
framework, in the year 1826, was a matter of some perplexity. For a
while the skull was exhibited in the court library, where it called
forth Goethe's well-known poem.]

[Footnote 130: For an excellent discussion of Schiller's more important
adaptations the reader is referred to A. Koester, "Schiller als
Dramaturg", Berlin, 1891.]


The Verdict of Posterity

Alles was der Dichter geben kann ist seine Individualitaet; diese
musz also wert sein, vor Welt und Nachwelt aufgestellt zu
werden.--_Review of Buerger, 1791_.

Rather more than in other countries it is the fashion in Germany to
regard literature under a national aspect, and to judge of writers not
so much according to their power of titillating a fastidious literary
taste as according to the degree in which they have entered into and
affected the intellectual life of the people at large. Looked at from
this point of view, Schiller well deserves the name of a national poet;
indeed it would be hard to find another modern man who deserves it
better. Critics there have always been to find fault with this and that,
yet he remains, after a century, the most truly popular of German poets;
not the most admired by the literary class, or by the outside world, but
the most beloved in his own country. Most Germans have a different
feeling for Schiller from that which they cherish for any other of their
great writers.

For this his idealized personality is largely responsible. He is
habitually thought of as an exceptionally noble and lofty character; as
a man more singly and more strenuously devoted than most men to those
starry ideals of truth, beauty and freedom, to which in the abstract all
acknowledge fealty. His memory was early invested with a sort of halo,
as of secular sainthood, for which, when one soberly reviews the facts
of his career, there seems at first but little warrant. Many another man
has been no less serious in his philosophizing, no less conscientious in
his artistic performance. There is nothing heroic in the story of his
life, unless it were his battle with disease; and this might have been
managed more wisely, if not more bravely. And yet the halo is not
altogether factitious. Many who knew him in his later years have borne
witness to his spiritualized expression and the fine dignity of his
presence. He gave the impression of an eminent personage whose "soul was
like a star and dwelt apart". Withal he was a pattern of the homely
virtues; an affectionate husband and father and a loyal friend. There
was no dissonance between his life and his poetry. On hearing of his
death, the sculptor Dannecker wrote:

The godlike man stands continually before my eyes, I will make him
life-like. Schiller must live in sculpture as a colossal form. I
intend an apotheosis.... The king was lately in my studio, and when
he saw Schiller so large he said: 'Zounds! But why so large?' I
answered: 'Majesty, Schiller must be thus large; the Suabian must
make a monument to the Suabian.' Said the king: 'You must have been
a good friend of his.' I answered: 'Yes, Majesty, from my youth up.
I occupy myself with him daily, working at the colossal bust. It
costs trouble, but it gives me joy, because the colossal image will
make an indescribable impression.'

But it was not only his friends who were thus affected by his
personality. Madame de Stael said of him in her famous book on Germany,
which was published in 1813:

Schiller was as admirable for his virtues as for his talents.
Conscience was his muse.... He loved poetry, the dramatic art,
history, literature, for their own sake. Had he been resolved not
to publish his works, he would have bestowed the same care upon
them.... In his youth he had been guilty of some vagaries of
fancy, but with the strength of manhood he acquired that exalted
purity which springs from great thoughts. He never had anything to
do with the vulgar feelings. He lived, spoke and acted as if bad
people did not exist; and when he portrayed them in his works, it
was with more exaggeration and less depth than if he had known
them. The bad presented themselves to his mind as an obstacle, as
a physical scourge.

In this characterization, truth to tell, there is a considerable element
of pure moonshine, as any one may convince himself who will read through
Schiller's letters, more especially those written during the lifetime of
the _Horen_. He had in him quite enough of the fighter and of the
schemer, and it came out in human ways. Moreover he wrote constantly for
immediate publication, under the goad of strong necessity; what he might
have done if this necessity had not existed, no man, or woman, can tell.
Still, Madame de Stael's portrait is highly interesting, as the first
that went out to the world at large, and as evidence of the impression
produced by Schiller in his later years even upon those who were under
no peculiar temptation to idealize him.

Much more influential in shaping the sentiment of posterity was Goethe's
magnificent 'Epilogue', dating from the year 1815. In this poem the
essential lineaments of Schiller's character, as seen through the
soothing but not yet obscuring vista of ten years by the wisest of those
who knew him well, were fixed for all time. He was here described as one
who had 'mounted to the highest heights, closely akin to all that we
esteem'; and posterity was besought to give him that which life had
denied. Henceforth it was possible only for purblind partisanship to
think otherwise than nobly of a man concerning whom a Goethe could say
such words as these:

Denn er war unser. Mag das stolze Wort
Den lauten Schmerz gewaltig uebertoenen.
Er mochte sich bei uns im sichern Port,
Nach wildem Sturm, zum Dauernden gewoehnen.
Indessen schritt sein Geist gewaltig fort
Ins Ewige des Guten, Wahren, Schoenen;
Und hinter ihm, in wesenlosem Scheine,
Lag was uns alle baendigt, das Gemeine.[131]

Nevertheless the purblind partisanship was already beginning its
campaign, though less against Schiller's character than against his art;
and this campaign soon led to a terrific logomachy, which was destined
to convulse the German empire of the air for something like two
generations. The controversy related to the comparative merit of Goethe
and Schiller as men and as poets. In general the Romantic school was
hostile to Schiller, partly for private reasons that had very little to
do with critical theories. In his famous 'Lectures on Dramatic Art',
originally delivered at Vienna in 1808 and published a few years later,
A.W. Schlegel dealt briefly with Schiller at the end of the course. What
he said was not unmixed with just appreciation, but the lectures set a
bad fashion in German criticism. Modern poetry was identified with
Romantic poetry and Shakspere was held up as _the_ Romantic poet. Not
only his greatness, but his rubbish, his rodomontade, his quips and
quibbles and buffoonery, were treated as if they belonged to a
sacrosanct canon of dramatic art. From this the natural inference was
that to be like Shakspere was to be great, and that no other kind of
greatness was possible for the Romantic, or modern, poet. As for
Schiller, he was treated by Schlegel with urbane condescension as a
gifted playwright who had tried to imitate Shakspere and met with but
limited success. The early plays were dismissed with a mere cry of pain,
and the later ones were discussed very briefly and perfunctorily with
respect to purely formal matters.

As already remarked, the lectures of Schlegel were sufficiently urbane
in tone and gave no foretaste of that bitterness with which he
subsequently attacked Schiller in some of his poems. What is here
important to observe is that Schlegel, and the other Romanticists who
took their cue from him, set the vogue of judging Goethe and Schiller
according to their imagined resemblance to Shakspere. Certain catchwords
and phrases, such as universality, objectivity, irony, and what not,
were imported into the literature of discussion, and these concepts were
used as absolute criteria by which to write Goethe up and Schiller down.
This naturally provoked the many friends of Schiller, and they replied
by assailing Goethe. His 'universality' was decried as a lamentable
weakness: it meant lack of character, of principle, of patriotism. His
pleasing form was only the seductive veil of immorality and
pococurantism. And so the controversy raged, becoming at last, in some
cases, mere blind fury. One who would like to get a vivid impression of
the state of German criticism at this time, and of the extent to which
partisanship could obfuscate the vision of an intelligent and
well-meaning man, should read the third volume of Wolfgang Menzel's
'German Literature', published in 1828. Menzel's treatment of Goethe is
one long diatribe of misrepresentation, becoming at times a mere
ululation of malignant hatred. Schiller, on the other hand, is exalted
to the skies as the peerless representative of all that is noble in
human nature and in poetry.

This fierce old battle of pen and ink, which was really a disgrace to
German civilization, is still capable of affording, for the passionate
fury and wrong-headedness of it, a modicum of amusement to the
retrospective scholar of to-day. And it amused Goethe, who as usual
found the sane point of view. Said he to Eckermann, one day in the year
1825: 'These twenty years the public has been contending as to which is
the greater, Schiller or I; they ought rather to be glad that they have
a brace of such fellows to quarrel about.' In all his talks with
Eckermann Goethe remained steadfastly faithful to the memory of his
friend, giving no comfort to those who were using his own name as a
bludgeon wherewith to batter the prestige of Schiller. 'Schiller', said
he, 'could do nothing that did not turn out greater than the best work
of these moderns. Yes, even when he cut his finger-nails he was greater
than these gentlemen.' He freely criticized this and that in particular
plays, observing that there was 'something violent' in Schiller's
methods; he even committed himself to the dubious conjecture that
certain weak passages might be due to physical exhaustion or to the
unwholesome stimulation of flagging energies. But the ever recurring
burden of his discourse was--_Er war ein praechtiger Mensch_.

The death of Goethe, in 1832, brought to an end conspicuously the epoch
of the Weimarian poets. Indeed it had ended virtually long before, but
it was not until Goethe too had become a memory that its significance
was fully realized. The Germans now saw, and the rest of the world saw
too, that they had a classical literature which really counted. They
began to speak of 'our classics', and to compare and contrast
them with the newest literary manifestations. Writers of every
kind,--philosophers, literary critics and historians, poets, novelists,
journalists, politicians and agitators,--had now to adjust themselves
mentally to Goethe and Schiller and what they stood for, or were
supposed to stand for. And so the river of literature, which in our day
has become a great Amazon, commenced flowing in a small, but steady and
ever widening stream. Hoffmeister's monumental biography of Schiller, in
five volumes, appeared between 1838 and 1842, and in the ensuing years
there came a procession of less thorough biographers, writing more for
the unlearned public. The criticism of him as a poet and a dramatist was
still subordinated, in a large degree, to the consideration of him as
the prophet of ideas which were to be examined with reference to their
ethical and moral value, or to the degree of their applicability to then
existing conditions.

The period now under consideration is, roughly speaking, the period from
the beginning of acute political agitation, about 1830, to the
realization of national unity in 1871. During the first part of this era
academic philosophy was still largely under the influence of Hegel, but
the reaction had set in and was destined to grow into a widespread
distrust of all speculative philosophy. Not to explain and justify the
existing world by the arachnean method of spinning a _Weltanschauung_
out of one's own interior, but to make the world different,--was the new
watchword. It was widely felt that Germans had speculated and theorized
and dreamed too much; it was time to assert their strength in practical
affairs. Men's minds began to be engaged with questions of political
reform and social regeneration. It was no longer the ideal, the good,
the beautiful and the true, that pressed for consideration, but
constitutional government, the freedom of the press, popular
representation and, above all, German unity. But chaos seemed to reign
in the intellectual sphere. Young Germany, so called, began a noisy
agitation which had no definite goal in view, but was characterized by a
fierce hostility to existing forms in church and state,--to princes,
aristocrats, priests, Christian marriage and conventional morality. And
there were other agitations, doctrines, theories and tendencies
innumerable. Germany had become, to revive a comparison then much in
vogue, an irresolute Hamlet, sicklied o'er with the pale cast of
thought. Talk, talk, everywhere, and nowhere the strong hand of
constructive statesmanship. And so came the abortive revolution of 1848,
with its ensuing disgusts, until finally the man of destiny appeared and
conducted affairs, by way of Sadowa and Sedan, to the new German Empire.

Now in that era of the doctrinaires, of the philosophical break-up and
of seething political passions, it was but natural that those who
thought of Schiller at all thought not so much of the dramatic artist as
of the prophet whose sentiments could be quoted for present edification
or reproof. The men of the middle part of the century judged him
generally from the partisan standpoint of their own political,
philosophical and religious prejudices. This is true not only of the
forgotten criticasters, but of the most famous, the most widely read and
the most authoritative literary historians of the time, such as Gervinus
and Vilmar. And in the domain of pure dramatic criticism, or what
purported to be such, there was quite too much of that captious
dogmatism which had come down from the Romanticists and which had its
origin, as we have seen, in the habit of regarding Shakspere, not as the
great dramatist of a nation and an epoch, but as _the_ universal modern
poet, whose methods and peculiarities must be canonical for
everybody.[132] Instead of looking fairly and squarely at Schiller's
plays and endeavoring to understand and interpret them as the expression
of the life of a past epoch, and of an artistic individuality which had
its own right to be and to grow in its own way, the dogmatic critics
treated him, in many cases, _de haut en bas_, as if they knew everything
better than he. Men who would have thought it a little absurd to assail
Mont Blanc for not being Chimborazo did not scruple to gird at Schiller
for not being something else than that which his nature made him. And so
it was that the great dramatic poet of the nation, whose plays were
daily proving their vitality in scores of theaters and were giving
pleasure to millions of readers, was treated oftentimes with incredible
severity by pompous Rhadamanthine critics who did not see that they were
thereby making themselves and their critical pretensions slightly

Of course this line of remark is not meant to imply that the works of
anybody should have been regarded as above criticism because they were
popular and had become classical. What is intended is simply to
characterize a past critical epoch which, in dealing with imaginative
literature, cared a little too much for abstract dogmas and
theoretical standpoints; which, instead of trying to enter humanly
into the spirit of an author and to judge him according to the nature
of his intentions and his success in carrying them out, preferred to
lay him on a bed of Procrustes and hack at him with the axe of
philosophy. Literature, like language, goes on its way with very
little tenderness for theories and dogmas. That which meets the needs
of human nature lives and after a while its 'faults' are forgotten; or
mayhap they come to be regarded as merits, and the rules are extended
to include the new case. Not to have seen this quite clearly enough
was a weakness of the vigorous and rigorous German critics of half a
century ago. And yet, some of them did see it dimly now and then.
Reference was made a moment ago to Gervinus,--certainly one of the
most learned, thoughtful and generally meritorious of German literary
historians,--and it was implied that he too was affected by the bias
of his age. It is thus a pleasure to quote a passage from him which
shows him in a different light. It is from the fifth volume of his
'National-Litteratur der Deutschen', published in 1842:

If one insists on condemning 'Wallenstein' as a whole because one
must reject the episode (of Max and Thekla), then one blinds oneself
deliberately to great merits on account of small faults. The
historical critic feels clearly here the disadvantage in which a
living or recently deceased writer is placed, in comparison with an
earlier one whose entire individuality has receded into the distance
and is beyond the strife of the passions. Soon after Shakspere's
death there was the same quarrel about him that we are having now
about Schiller. To-day that which was imputed to him as vice is so
interblended with his virtues that it is regarded as trivial to
waste a serious word upon it. So it may be one day with our poets;
and then people will look at the faults in Schiller's compositions
from other points of view. We shall then manage to get along with
what was done and accepted long ago, and content ourselves with
explaining it; whereas now, at the beginning of its course, though
we cannot unmake it, we think perhaps to prevent its acceptance and
deprive it of immortality by rejecting it unexplained.

Here is certainly a highly interesting modern case of the fulfillment
of prophecy.

Another phase of the Schiller-question which was much discussed in the
middle portion of the nineteenth century was his aesthetic idealism.
While his plays carry one into the rushing currents of life, and while
his ballads are poems of action, it was possible to extract from his
'Letters on Aesthetic Education' and from some of his poems, notably
'The Ideal and Life', what seemed to be a message of aesthetic quietism;
a message which appeared to say that the attainment of inward peace,
freedom and harmony was the highest goal of human effort. Naturally
enough the individualism and aestheticism of the Weimarian poets were
not welcome doctrine to an excited generation that had caught a glimpse
of an immense work to be done for the fatherland. The ever increasing
pressure of social emotions made it seem a selfish and unmanly thing to
be so concerned about one's own spiritual equipoise. This feeling finds
frequent expression in the literature of the time; and so much was it
harped on, and so feebly were the countervailing considerations
presented, that many people, both in Germany and outside of it, got into
their heads a radically wrong conception of the Weimarian Dioscuri; a
conception which quite forgot that both of them, all their lives long,
were very strenuous workers, strongly possessed by the social sentiment.
And even those who were too wise to be thus completely misled as to the
significance and the value of the Weimarian legacy could not help
feeling that for the present, at least, it were better regarded as a
dead issue. One can understand the sentiment with which Gervinus closed
his great history of the national literature: 'The rival contest of the
arts is finished. Now we should set before us the other mark, which no
archer among us has yet hit, and see if peradventure Apollo will grant
us here too the renown that he did not refuse us there.'

But while the critics and doctrinaires were contending thus variously
about the merits of Schiller, his name endeared itself more and more to
the many who were chafing under the regime of princely absolutism and
were longing for a freer Germany. They idealized him as the poet of
liberty,--chiefly, it would seem, on account of 'William Tell', or,
among radical and boisterous youth, on account of 'The Robbers'; for the
'freedom' of his poems is a metaphysical rather than a political
concept. In the year 1844 Freiligrath committed himself definitively to
the cause of 'the people', as he understood it, which proved to be the
cause of the Red Republicans. In announcing his conversion he wrote a
poem called 'Good Morning', the last stanza of which, done into rough
English rime, runs thus:

Good morning then! Behold a freeman here,
Walking henceforward in the people's ways;
For with the people is the poet's sphere,--
'Tis thus I read my Schiller nowadays.[133]

But he read him quite wrongly. For a much saner view of this question
one should go back to honest Eckermann, who reports Goethe as saying to
him in 1824: 'Schiller, who, between ourselves, was much more of an
aristocrat than I, has the remarkable fortune to count as a particular
friend of the people.' This is exactly right. Neither man had in him
much of the stuff that tribunes of the people are made of, but Schiller
had less of it than Goethe. His whole temper was that of an aristocrat.
Had he lived in the forties of the nineteenth century, we may be very
sure that he would have scented a return of the French Terror, and would
have spoken, if at all, as an arch-conservative.

And really there is but cold comfort in 'William Tell' for those who, in
the revolutionary epoch, were clamoring against princes as such. The
play is in no sense anti-monarchical, nor is it either German or
un-German, but simply human. As a curious illustration of the unreason
that men could once be guilty of through their habit of regarding
Schiller as a political poet, it is worth while to quote a passage from
Vilmar, whose history of German literature enjoyed great popularity half
a century ago. Speaking of 'William Tell', Vilmar has this to say:

For the rest it is remarkable that Schiller's contemporaries and a
large part of posterity looked upon 'Tell' as a peculiarly German
play, and that too in respect of its subject-matter. They conceived
it as a glorification of German deeds and held it up to admiration
as a sort of symbol of German sentiment, in opposition to the French
policy of subjugation in 1806-1813; the fact being that Tell's deed,
as it appears in the saga and in Schiller's drama, represents and
glorifies the unfortunate and in part criminal detachment of
Switzerland from the German Empire. Napoleon was in those days the
only one who saw this and expressed his amazement that Germans could
thus praise such a thoroughly anti-German play as a drama glorifying
the German fatherland.

It is sufficient to remark, if the matter were of any importance, that
the Swiss revolution, as portrayed by Schiller, is not directed
against the Empire, but against the brutes sent out by the Hapsburg
dynasty in pursuance of a policy of dynastic aggrandizement. In
numerous passages it is brought out that the very thing the
conspirators are concerned about is to preserve their ancient
_Reichsunmittelbarkeit_. All that they wish is to get back and
perpetuate the liberties they have until lately enjoyed _under the
Empire_. 'Freedom' nowhere means 'independence', and there is no vista
of independence at the end of the play.

The year 1859 was marked by a prodigious ebullition of Schiller
enthusiasm. While the hundredth birthday of Goethe had passed, ten years
before, with but little notice, that of Schiller was made the occasion
of a demonstration the like of which the modern world has hardly seen
made in honor of any other poet whatsoever. In every part of Germany,
and not in Germany only but in Austria, Switzerland, England and the New
World, the memory of Schiller was honored in speech and song, in the
unveiling of monuments, and in commemorative writings large and small.
It was as if the entire German-speaking world, still dreaming the lately
baffled dream of national unity, had turned to him as the noblest of the
spiritual ties that bind Germans together. In the mass of literature
dating from that time of flood-tide in the veneration of Schiller, one
finds a good deal that is interesting in its own way, for one reason or
another, but not very much that is highly valuable for illuminative
criticism of Schiller. The best of the biographies are those of Palleske
and Scherr; of the minor tributes the famous address of Jacob Grimm in
the Berlin Academy. The spirit of the time was not favorable to a calm,
objective view, but it is in itself a fact of immense significance that
a great and critical, doctrine-ridden and passion-distracted people
should have united in honoring a poet as Schiller was honored by the
Germans in the year 1859.

A new epoch may be dated from about 1871,--the epoch of the historical
critics and philologers. With the realization of national unity the
vista of the past rapidly cleared up and new points of view were
gained. It was as if a height had been won from which it was possible
to see over the dust and smoke of the past three decades. The pride of
the new-born nation now looked back with quickened interest to the
great writers of the eighteenth century, but with the feeling that they
had done enough for the glory of the fatherland in simply being great
writers. It was time to see them as they were, without writing them up
or down, according to their supposed attitude toward questions which
were not their questions. It was in 1874 that Herman Grimm remarked, in
a lecture at Berlin, that henceforth there was to be a science called
Goethe. All the world knows how the prediction has been fulfilled.
During the last two decades the science called Goethe has marched
bravely on, enlisting a small army of workers, creating a vast jungle
of literature,--_selva selvaggia ed aspra e forte_,--and making friends
and enemies. And the science called Schiller is like unto it, only not
quite so big.

To attempt any sort of review or conspectus of all this Alexandrian
activity would be, for the purposes of this book, a futile undertaking;
it would lead off into an interminable and dry bibliography, which in
the end would convey little instruction as to Schiller's real
popularity. It would show that he is very extensively studied and
commented on by the academic class, which in Germany constitutes by
itself an enormous public. It would also show that good judges, of
apparently equal competence, still think very differently of the general
merit of his art and are very differently affected by particular works.
This is only to reiterate the familiar truth that literary criticism has
not become, does not tend to become, an exact science. The feeling one
has for poetry, or the effect produced upon one by a particular artistic
individuality, is the result of a hundred subtle influences that combine
to give each one of us his private form and range of susceptibility; and
this susceptibility itself varies with the _Zeitgeist_ and with the age
and nerve-state of the individual. The mere craving for novelty makes
itself felt; so that that which once gave pleasure gives it no longer,
or gives it in a lower degree. There is disputing about tastes, but
there is no settling of the dispute. For A to give logical reasons why B
should admire that which, as a matter of fact, B does not admire, or
vice versa, is always a tempting, and in the long run a useful, form of
literary exertion; only one must not expect B to be convinced or to mend
his ways immediately.

Beyond a doubt there have been strong influences at work in Germany,
during the past two decades, which are unfavorable to Schiller's
prestige. Now and then some cocksure champion of some _nova fede_
announces that the day of poetic idealism is past. There have always
been such voices, and a few years ago they were perhaps a little more
numerous and more shrill than usual. Of late, however, they have seemed
to grow fainter, and there are already signs of the idealistic reaction
that is sure to come. Meanwhile the day of Schiller does not pass and is
not likely to pass. The isms come and go, but his plays retain their
popularity, because they appeal to sentiments that are deeply rooted in
the affections of an immense portion of the German people who care but
little for the doctrines of the doctrinaire. And so it will continue to
be. To talk of returning to Schiller, or to hold up his style and
technique as models for imitation, is foolish. Of such imitation, which
could lead to nothing but the ossification of the German drama, there
has been quite enough in the past. To imitate his spirit is to 'keep the
type-idea flexible in one's mind' and reach out continually after that
which is new, elevating and adapted to the present need. This is the
best form of respect to his memory.

Unquestionably Schiller lacked the supreme qualities that go to the
making of a great world-poet. With all his cosmopolitanism he was a
German of the Germans. For them his work has a meaning and an importance
which it cannot have for others, because he is the organ-voice of their
ethnic instincts and idealisms. Think of a sentiment that Germans love,
and you shall find it, if you search, expressed in sonorous verse in
some poem or play of Schiller. The schools and the theaters keep his
name steadily before the great public, while the intellectual classes,
as Gervinus foresaw, are coming to dwell less on the great qualities
that he lacked than on the great qualities that he possessed. As to the
present attitude of sober German thought, nothing could possibly be more
illuminative than the following words of Otto Brahm:

As a student I was a Schiller-hater. I make this preliminary
confession not because I attach personal importance to it, but
because, on the contrary, I think I see in my attitude one that is
typical for our time. Every one of us, it seems to me, travels this
road: After a period of early veneration, which is awakened in us by
tradition and by the earliest literary impressions of youth, there
comes, as a reaction against an uncritical overestimate, and under
the influence of changed ideals of art, a defection from Schiller,
which parades itself in a one-sided and unhistorical emphasis of his
weak points. Then gradually this negative attitude corrects itself
to a positive one, and we recognize the folly of that
young-and-verdant bumptiousness which would think of consigning the
greatest of German dramatists to the realms of the dead. And now at
last, after it has passed through doubt, our enthusiasm is
imperishable; with clear eye we look up to the greatness of the man,
and to the splendid model for all intellectual work which is
exhibited in that life of passionate striving for the ideal.


[Footnote 131: The meaning of the famous verses, divested perforce of
much of their German music, may be expressed thus:

For he was ours. So let the note of pride
Hush into silence all the mourner's ruth;
In our safe harbor he was fain to bide
And build for aye, after the storm of youth.
We saw his mighty spirit onward stride
To eternal realms of Beauty and of Truth;
While far behind him lay phantasmally
The vulgar things that fetter you and me.]

[Footnote 132: The disparagement of Schiller on account of his
unlikeness to Shakspere was carried to almost absurd lengths in the
"Shakespeare-Studien" of Otto Ludwig. One of Ludwig's critiques, written
about 1858, begins thus: "Ich kenne keine poetische, namentlich keine
dramatische Gestalt, die in ihrem Entwurfe so zufaellig, so krankhaft
individuell, in ihrer Ausfuehrung so unwahr waere, als Schiller's
Wallenstein; keine, die mit ihren eignen Voraussetzungen so im Streite
laege, keine, die sich molluskenhafter der Willkuer des Dichters fuegte."]

[Footnote 133:

Guten Morgen denn! Frei werd' ich stehen
Fuer das Volk und mit ihm in der Zeit;
Mit dem Volke soll der Dichter gehen,--
So les' ich meinen Schiller heut.]



A Survey of Schiller Literature

The mass of literature pertaining to Schiller has now grown so great
that an exhaustive bibliography would fill a good-sized volume. All that
can be attempted here is a selection of the more important works. The
fullest bibliography thus far is that contained in the fifth volume of
Goedeke's Grundrisz zur Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung, 2nd edition,
Dresden, 1893. Annual reviews of Schiller literature appear in the
Jahresberichte fuer neuere deutsche Litteraturgeschichte and in the
Berichte des Freien Deutschen Hochstiftes. Valuable especially for its
English titles is the bibliography compiled by John P. Anderson for
Nevinson's Life of Schiller, London, 1889.


During the lifetime of Schiller his writings were printed in different
forms by different publishers, and owing to the absence of copyright
unauthorized reprints were numerous. He himself undertook no complete
and final redaction of all his works, though in his later years he
revised and arranged a selection of his poems. 'Don Carlos' and some of
the prose writings also underwent revision at the hands of their author.

The first edition calling itself complete was that of Koerner, which was
published in 1812-15, in twelve volumes, by Cotta of Stuttgart. Koerner
divided the poems into three periods,--a division which has since been
extensively copied. Koerner's edition became the basis of the later Cotta
editions (down to 1868), which were reprinted in various forms and
degrees of completeness, but without important changes or additions.
With the expiration of Cotta's monopoly and the opening of the
philological era, the works of Schiller began to be deemed worthy of the
same scrupulous editorial care that had long been bestowed on the Greek
and Latin classics. The mid-century researches of Hoffmeister and
others, particularly Hoffmeister's Supplemente zu Schillers Werken,
1840-1, had brought to light much new material not usually printed with
the works of Schiller, and the received text, even of the more important
works, was known to be more or less faulty and uncertain. To meet the
new demand a historico-critical edition was undertaken by Goedeke, with
the assistance of several sub-editors. The result was Schillers,
Saemmtliche Schriften, Historisch-kritische Ausgabe, 15 vols., Cotta,
Stuttgart, 1868-76. This edition aimed at completeness, arranged the
works chronologically and went deeply into the matter of variant
readings. It is still indispensable to the scholar, though not free from

Contemporaneous with this work of critical scholarship was the cheaper
and more popular edition of Boxberger and Maltzahn, published by Hempel
in Berlin--Schillers Werke, nach den vorzueglichsten Quellen revidierte
Ausgabe, 16 parts in 6 vols., 1868-74,--which, though unsightly, is
valuable for its introductions and notes. In more recent years several
good editions have appeared, the most noteworthy being (1) that of
Boxberger and Birlinger, published as a part of Kuerschner's Deutsche
National-Litteratur, 12 vols., Stuttgart, 1882-91; (2) that of L.
Bellermann, Kritisch durchgesehene und erlaeuterte Ausgabe, 14 vols.,
Leipzig, 1895 ff., and (3) the latest of the critical Cotta editions,
completed in 16 vols. in 1894.

The dramatic fragments have been twice edited by Kettner, Schillers
Dramatischer Nachlasz nach den Handschriften herausgegeben, Weimar,
1895, and Schillers Dramatische Entwuerfe und Fragmente aus dem Nachlasz
zusammengestellt, Stuttgart, 1899. The Xenia have recently been edited
by Schmidt and Suphan, Xenien 1796, nach den Handschriften des
Goethe-Schiller Archivs herausgegeben, Weimar, 1893.

As is well known the later plays of Schiller, to a certain extent also
some of his prose writings, are familiar school classics wherever German
is studied. The school editions, many of them meritorious works of
scholarship, are very numerous. They are not mentioned here because a
mere list of names and dates would be of no use, while a selection with
discriminative or critical comment would be a difficult and invidious
task to which the compiler of this survey has no inclination. Any of the
scholarly editions published in recent years, in Germany, the United
States or England, will usually be found to contain a sufficient
bibliography of the particular work under consideration.


It was the opinion of Goethe that Schiller's style was at its best in
his letters (see Eckermann's Gespraeche, 14. April, 1824). Letters of
Schiller, including some forged ones to Karl Moser, began to get into
print in the early years of the nineteenth century, and as interest
increased the publications became exceedingly numerous (see the
extensive bibliography in Goedeke's Grundrisz, V. 98 ff.). So far as the
authentic letters of Schiller himself are concerned, these separate
publications have now been superseded by the admirable work of F. Jonas,
Schillers Briefe, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 7 vols., Stuttgart, 1892 ff.
It only remains, therefore, to make note of the more important
publications that contain correspondence, or reminiscences having a
biographical value. They are as follows:

Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe, mit einer Einleitung von F.
Muncker, Stuttgart, 1893. The correspondence is also to be had, edited
by Vollmer, in Cotta's Bibliothek der Weltlitteratur. It was first
published in 1828-9 in 6 vols.

Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Wilhelm von Humboldt, dritte
vermehrte Ausgabe mit Anmerkungen von A. Leitzmann, Stuttgart, 1900.
First published in 1830, with a Vorerinnerung by Von Humboldt.

Schillers Briefwechsel mit Koerner, herausgegeben von K. Goedeke,
Leipzig, 1874; also a later edition by L. Geiger, Stuttgart, 1893. The
correspondence was first published in 1847 and soon after translated
into English by Simpson, 3 vols., London, 1849.

Schiller und Lotte, dritte, den ganzen Briefwechsel umfassende Ausgabe,
von W. Fielitz, Stuttgart, 1879; later edition, also by Fielitz, 1893.
First published in 1856.

Karl Augusts erstes Anknuepfen mit Schiller, Stuttgart, 1857, edited by
Schiller's daughter, Emilie von Gleichen.

Schillers Beziehungen zu Eltern, Geschwistern und der Familie von
Wolzogen, herausgegeben von A. von Wolzogen, Stuttgart, 1859.

Charlotte von Schiller und ihre Freunde, herausgegeben von L. Urlichs, 3
vols., Stuttgart, 1860-5.

Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller and Iffland, herausgegeben von F.
Dingelstedt, Stuttgart, 1863.

Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und seiner Schwester Christophine,
herausgegeben von W. von Maltzahn, Leipzig, 1875.

Schillers Briefwechsel mit dem Herzog von Augustenburg, herausgegeben
von Max Mueller, Berlin, 1875.

Geschaeftsbriefe Schillers, gesammelt, erlaeutert und herausgegeben von K.
Goedeke, Leipzig, 1875.

Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Cotta, herausgegeben von W. Vollmer,
Stuttgart, 1876.

To these may be added--here better than elsewhere:

Charlotte von Kalb und ihre Beziehungen zu Goethe und Schiller, von E.
Koepke, Berlin, 1843, and The Diary, Reminiscences and Correspondence of
Henry Crabbe Robinson, edited by Th. Sadler, London, 1869.


The first account of Schiller by a conscientious and competent writer
was that by Koerner, which accompanied his edition of 1812-15. This,
however, was a mere sketch.

In 1825 Carlyle published his Life of Schiller at London, and a few
years later the book was translated into German and supplied with an
introduction by Goethe. It was based on very imperfect information, but
was an inspiring work of genius nevertheless. It is now more valuable as
a Carlyle document than as a Schiller-document.

In 1830 Karoline von Wolzogen, Schiller's sister-in-law, published her
memoir of the poet, which is now to be had in Cotta's Bibliothek der
Weltlitteratur. It contained a large number of authentic letters and
was based upon an intimate personal acquaintance dating from the year
1787. For the earlier years data were furnished by friends and
relatives. The little book has many excellencies, but the portrait of
Schiller, as it came from the hands of the talented but aging Baroness,
is a shade too idealistic and sentimental. Of his virile youth one gets
hardly an inkling.

The year 1836 brought a valuable contribution to the knowledge of
Schiller's youth in Schillers Flucht von Stuttgart, by Andreas

From this time on the biographies are numerous. A mediocre one
by Doering, first published in 1832, was often reprinted in
subsequent years. Between 1838 and 1842 appeared Schillers Leben,
Geistesentwickelung und Werke im Zusammenhang, von Karl Hoffmeister.
This monumental work of scholarship, in five volumes, has been
indispensable to later biographers, however they might differ with
Hoffmeister in matters of critical estimate. Hoffmeister's learned
work was made the basis of a more popular biography by H. Viehoff,
which appeared first in 1846. A new and revised edition was published
in 1875. Of the shorter and more popular biographies which appeared
down to 1859, it may suffice to mention those by G. Schwab (1840) and
J.W. Schaefer (1853). The sketch by Bulwer, which accompanied his
translation of Schiller's poems, London, 1844, was based mainly on
Hoffmeister and Schwab.

The great Schiller-festival of 1859 called forth a mass of literature
of which the titles fill ten octavo pages in Goedeke's Grundrisz. Of
the longer biographies dating from this period the most important are
that by J. Scherr, Schiller and seine Zeit, Leipzig, 1859 (English
translation by Elizabeth MacLellan, Philadelphia, 1881), and that by E.
Palleske, Schillers Leben und Werke, Berlin, 1858-9. Palleske's work,
of which an English translation by Lady Wallace appeared in London in
1860, soon attained a remarkable popularity, which it still enjoys with
some abatement. It is the work of a conscientious Schiller enthusiast,
written with great warmth of feeling and great fulness of biographical
detail, but not strong on the critical side. A twelfth edition,
somewhat popularized by H. Fischer, appeared in 1886, a fifteenth
edition in 1900.

For some twenty years Palleske and Scherr held the field in Germany
without serious competition, and then a new crop of biographies began to
appear. That of H. Duentzer, Schillers Leben, mit 46 Illustrationen und 5
Beilagen, Leipzig, 1881 (English translation by Pinkerton, London,
1883), retold the familiar story in a style less attractive than that of
Palleske, and without adding anything of great importance in the way of
critical appreciation. The same may be said of the biography by C. Hepp,
Leipzig, 1885.

Of an entirely different character are the contributions of Weltrich,
Minor, and Brahm, which are essentially works of historico-critical
interpretation. Unfortunately, however, they were begun on a scale of
such magnitude, and with such an uncompromising respect for the
infinitely little, that there is small prospect of their completion.

Of the work of Weltrich, Friedrich Schiller, Geschichte seines Lebens
und Charakteristik seiner Werke, unter kritischem Nachweis der
biographischen Quellen, the first installment appeared in 1885, the
second in 1891, and the third (completing the first volume) in 1899.

The work of Minor, Schiller, sein Leben und seine Werke, of which two
volumes appeared in 1890, ends with a discussion of 'Don Carlos'. More
readable, but proportionally less thorough than either of these, is the
work of Brahm, of which the second volume, first part, appeared in 1892,
bringing the story down through Schiller's Kantian period.

The learnedly philological character of the works just mentioned,
together with their incompleteness, left room enough for further
attempts at a popular biography of Schiller. This demand has been met in
recent years by Wychgram, whose well-written and handsomely illustrated
Schiller, Leipzig, 1891, is worthy of high commendation; and also by the
little book of Harnack, Berlin, 1898 (one of the 'Geisteshelden'
series), which is admirable within the limits set. Of the short
biographies in English the best are those of Boyesen, Goethe and
Schiller, New York, 1882, and Sime, Schiller, London, 1882. That of
Nevinson, London, 1889 (one of the 'Great Writers' series), contains,
along with much sound criticism, a good deal that is rather too
peremptory and unsympathetic.


The following notes take no account of criticism contained in the
general histories of German literature and philosophy, nor of the
multitudinous articles, essays, reviews, programs and dissertations
relating to particular works.

_Plays_.--The best treatise on the plays as a whole is that of
Bellermann, Schillers Dramen, 2nd edition, 2 vols., Berlin, 1898-9.
Bellermann's point of view is that of a learned dramatic critic and
expounder. He writes as a warm admirer of Schiller and is at his best
when defending him against ill-grounded censures. Occasionally his
friendly partisanship carries him a little too far.--A good discussion
from the dramatic and histrionic point of view is contained in
Bulthaupt, Dramaturgie des Schauspiels, 5th edition, Oldenburg,
1891.--The Studien zu Schillers Dramen, by W. Fielitz, Leipzig, 1876,
are excellent, but relate only to 'Wallenstein', 'Maria Stuart' and 'The
Maid of Orleans'.--Suggestive and eminently readable is Werder,
Vorlesungen ueber Wallenstein, Berlin, 1889.--Rather more valuable for
facts than for criticism are the Schiller volumes of Duentzers
Erlaeuterungen zu den deutschen Klassikern (beginning in
1876).--References to Schiller are numerous in Freytag, Die Technik des
Dramas (first edition in 1859), and also in the Shakespeare-Studien of
Otto Ludwig (edited by Heyderich, 1872).--On the work of Schiller as
translator and adapter consult A. Koester, Schiller als Dramaturg,
Berlin, 1891.--An up-to-date French treatise on the early plays is that
of Kontz, Les drames de la jeunesse de Schiller, Paris, 1899.

_Poems_.--Viehoff, Schillers Gedichte erlaeutert, und auf ihre
Veranlassungen, Quellen und Vorbilder zurueckgefuehrt, 7th edition,
Stuttgart, 1895.--Hauff, Schillerstudien, Stuttgart, 1880.--Philippi,
Schillers Lyrische Gedankendichtung in ihrem ideellen Zusammenhange
beleuchtet, Augsburg, 1888.--Helene Lange, Schillers Philosophische
Gedichte, sechs Vortraege, Berlin, 1887.--Schiller als Lyrischer Dichter
in Duentzers Erlaeuterungen.--Considerable commentary is contained in The
Poems and Ballads of Schiller translated by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton,
1st edition, London, 1844.--On the Xenia consult, in addition to the
edition by Schmidt and Suphan, Boas, Schiller und Goethe im Xenienkampf,
Stuttgart, 1851.

_Historical Writings_.--Tomaschek, Schiller in seinem Verhaeltnisse zur
Wissenschaft; von der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien
gekroente Preisschrift, Wien, 1862.--Janssen, Schiller als Historiker,
2nd edition, Freiburg, 1879.--Ueberweg, Schiller als Historiker und
Philosoph, Leipzig, 1884 (written, however, in 1859 in competition for
the prize of the Vienna Academy, which was won by Tomaschek).

_Philosophical Writings._--Harnack, Die klassische Aesthetik der
Deutschen, Wuerdigung der kunsttheoretischen Arbeiten Schillers, Goethes
und ihrer Freunde, Leipzig, 1892.--Berger, K. (pseudonym for Adolf
Wechssler), Die Entwickelung von Schillers Aesthetik, Weimar,
1894.--Kuehnemann, Die Kantischen Studien Schillers und die Komposition
des 'Wallenstein', Marburg, 1889.--Gneisse, Schillers Lehre von der
aesthetischen Wahrnehmung, Berlin, 1893. Zimmermann, Schiller als
Denker, 1859.--The works of Tomaschek and Ueberweg (see above under
'Historical Writings') deal also with Schiller as a philosophic thinker.

_Miscellaneous._--Fischer, Schiller-Schriften, Heidelberg, 1891 (revised
edition of earlier studies comprising Schillers Jugend- und Wanderjahre
in Selbstbekenntnissen, Schiller als Komiker, and Schiller als
Philosoph).--Belling, Die Metrik Schillers, Breslau, 1883.--Rudolph,
Schiller-Lexikon, Erlaeuterndes Woerterbuch zu Schillers Dichterwerken, 2
vols., Berlin, 1890.--Rieger, Schillers Verhaeltnis zur franzoesischen
Revolution, Wien, 1885.--Pietsch, Schiller als Kritiker, Koenigsberg,
1898.--Mauerhof, Schiller und Heinrich von Kleist, Zuerich und Leipzig
(no date).--Ehrlich, Goethe und Schiller, Berlin, 1897.--Portig,
Schiller in seinem Verhaeltnis zur Freundschaft und Liebe, sowie in
seinem inneren Verhaeltnis zu Goethe, Hamburg, 1894 (long-winded and
amorphous, but useful in places).

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