For over 150 years, Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) has been one of the most widely read and performed German authors. His status in the literary canon is firmly established, but he has always been one of Germany's most contentiously discussed authors. Today's critical debate on his unique prose narratives and dramas is as heated as ever. Many critics regard Kleist as a lone presager of the aesthetics and philosophies of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modernism. Yet there can be no question that he responds in his works and letters to the philosophical, aesthetic, and political debates of his time. During the last thirty years, the scholarship on Kleist's work and life has departed from the existentialist wave of the 1950s and early 1960s and opened up new avenues for comingto terms with his unusual talent. The present volume brings together the most important and innovative of these newer scholarly approaches: the essays include critically informed, up-to-date interpretations of Kleist's most-discussed stories and dramas. Other contributions analyze Kleist's literary means and styles and their theoretical underpinnings. They include articles on Kleist's narrative and theatrical technique, poetic and aesthetic theory, philosophical and political thought, and insights from new biographical research.
Contributors: Jeffrey L. Sammons, Jost Hermand, Anthony Stephens, Bianca Theisen, Hinrich C. Seeba, Bernhard Greiner, Helmut J. Schneider, Tim Mehigan, Susanne Zantop, Hilda M. Brown, and Seán Allan.
Bernd Fischer is Professor of German andHead of the Department of German at Ohio State University.