Life of Friedrich Schiller

Life of Friedrich Schiller

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Life of Friedrich Schiller

Life of Friedrich Schiller

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Excerpt

The period of modern classical literature in Germany may almost be said to have begun in 1759, the year of Schiller's birth; for in that year appeared the Letters on Literature , in which Lessing criticised recent publications for the benefit of a friend who had been wounded at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, and delivered German poetry and letters from the false and artificial canons that had held sway since the time when the Thirty Years' War obliterated almost every genuine and national element in German thought. It may be noticed, also, that in the same year Rousseau was finishing the Nouvelle Héloïe , the influence of which on literature and popular sentiment was to be felt at least as fully in Germany as in France.

Like Goethe, who was ten years his senior, Schiller had the advantage of being born in South Germany, in one of the richest and sunniest of all the beautiful valleys that supply the main stream of the Rhine. His forefathers for some generations had lived in decent poverty, generally as bakers, in one or other of the . . .

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