Academic journal article German Quarterly

A Companion to the Works of Friedrich Schiller

Academic journal article German Quarterly

A Companion to the Works of Friedrich Schiller

Article excerpt

Martinson, Steven D., ed. A Companion to the Works of Friedrich Schiller. Rochester: Camden House, 2005. 333pp. $90.00 hardcover.

"... the specific character of Schiller's genius and works [is] still in need of more clarification-and liberation from cultural prejudices." The concluding sentence of the volume under review both justifies its publication and concedes that there still remains work to be done. Indeed, Wulf Koepke's concluding survey of 20th-century Schiller reception is shot through with eager anticipation of the 2005 Schiller commemorations, so that the reader's hopes of being entertained by accounts of "iconoclastic" productions of Schiller's plays in the 1970s are dashed because this commemorative phase is now over.

At the other end of the volume, Steven D. Martinson's introduction rightly emphasizes the diversity of talent and training evident in Schiller's writings, not neglecting the early medical essays in his portrait of the man who would so persuasively argue that our salvation comes through art. As editor of this volume, Martinson has undoubtedly shouldered the heaviest load. Hats off to him: in addition to writing the introduction, he has contributed his own essay and translated four others into English (though these could have done with one more read-through). A couple of questions arise in relation to the editing. For example, why translate the titles of Schiller's works which would, after all, for the most part be familiar to anyone motivated to pick up this volume, but leave quotations in the original? And why list only early English translations of Schiller's works in the front of the book, when modern translations are available and, in most cases, more useful.

Walter Hinderer makes a strong case for the relevance of Schiller's youthful works by demonstrating just how consistent Schiller ' s view of the human being remains on all three levels: physical, aesthetic, and moral. David Pugh eloquently identifies, then resolves, seemingly paradoxical features of Schiller's relation to antiquity, and concludes with high praise for the poet and thinker's brand of classicism.

In a somewhat idiosyncratic interpretation of Die Räuber as emblem, Werner von Stransky-Stranka-Greifenfels emphasizes the crucial role played by familiarity with the writer's life in interpreting authorial intention. …

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