Academic journal article German Quarterly

Schiller's Literary Prose Works: New Translations and Critical Essays

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Schiller's Literary Prose Works: New Translations and Critical Essays

Article excerpt

High, Jeffrey L., ed. Schiller's Literary Prose Works: New Translations and Critical Essays. Rochester: Camden House, 2008. 275 pp. $65.00 hardback.

Schiller's prose fiction is a great read, in German and in this new comprehensive English edition. Thematically as well as stylistically, the prose texts are closely linked to Schiller's historiographical and dramatic writings, particularly in their combination of compelling character development and psychological detail on the one hand, and enlightened pedagogical ambition on the other. Discussions about the roots and contexts of amoral and subversive behavior are uncannily relevant in our time when Enlightenment values are under renewed pressure to prove their validity (Guantanamo). Schiller leaves the application of the values he invokes largely up to the reader who is presented with the principles but urged to draw and apply his own conclusions. It is precisely his acute awareness of social realities that leads Schiller to focus so relentlessly on the individual. Thus, Jeffrey L. High is justified in sketching the influence of Schiller's prose writings on the emerging German novella in their "moral ambivalence, anthropological universality, and [...] grim verisimilitude."

The volume is meticulously edited, sporting a baroque abundance of paratexts: Foreword, Preface, and Introduction, as well as Acknowledgments and Notes by the seven translators precede Schiller's eight texts. Camden House's characteristically comprehensive Index is valuable, as is the user-friendly consolidated Works Cited. Translations are based on the Nationalausgabe. Translators found convincing ways to cope with Schiller's intricate syntax and the preponderance of abstract nouns ("sein Inwendiges" rendered as "deep inside him"), and with his sometimes misleadingly simple vocabulary ("die Gerechtigkeit" is "the justice system"). Schiller's philosophical terminology is rendered consistently by the various translators; the breathlessness of his style receives its due - consider this stretta: "It did me well to know that there was still one creature beneath me in the order of living things. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.