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The Wallenstein Figure in German Literature and Historiography 1790-1920

The Wallenstein Figure in German Literature and Historiography 1790-1920

Steffan Davies
Volume: 76
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    The Wallenstein Figure in German Literature and Historiography 1790-1920
    Book Description:

    Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583-1634), one of the most famous and controversial personalities of the Thirty Years War, gained heightened prominence in the nineteenth century through Schiller's monumental drama Wallenstein (1798-99). Schiller's own fame, and the complexities he injected into his dramatic character, made Wallenstein a potent, near-mythical, but also highly ambivalent figure. This innovative and detailed study tests Schiller's impact on historians as well as on later literary texts. It traces Wallenstein's part in the construction of identity in Germany, Austria and Bohemia, examining the figure's significance in events such as the 'Wars of Liberation' against France, the 1859 Schiller festival, and the First World War. The broad range of authors and historians studied includes Franz Grillparzer, Leopold von Ranke, Ricarda Huch and Alfred Doblin. 

    eISBN: 978-1-78188-061-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-25)

    So wrote the schoolboy Leopold Ranke in 1813, in a draft of the essay on Greek tragedy with which he would graduate from Schulpforta the following year. He describes Schiller’s Wallenstein, first performed in 1798–99 and published in 1800, in not one but two regards.² First, Schiller promoted a historical figure to new greatness and prominence. Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, was not obscure — he had been controversial even before his assassination in 1634 — but he was still sufficiently unknown for Schiller to interpret him freely. After Schiller, however, the drama immediately became the foremost point...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Schiller’s Wallenstein: Playing with Ambivalence
    (pp. 26-57)

    A new tide of interest in Wallenstein rose after about 1750, driven not by the political concerns that had fuelled the first flurry of writing on him after 1634, but by the impetus of the eighteenth-century ‘paradigm shift’ referred to above (pp. 6–7). The tendency among historians, following the lead of Wallenstein’s most prominent chronicler, Khevenhiller, was to paint a dark picture of their subject. A German translation of Jacques Sarasin’s La conspiration de Valstein (1656) was published in 1758: Wallenstein ‘konte [sic] die Bewegungen seines aufgebrachten und erbitterten Gemüths nicht überwinden, noch der grausamen Leidenschaft und Neigung zur...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Wallenstein in the Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 58-85)

    Literary treatments of Wallenstein did not stop with Schiller: during the century after the drama’s appearance, numerous historical novels and Novellen were written about him or made substantial mention of him. The ‘history’ to which the authors referred was now not only that of the Thirty Years War, but also Schiller’s seminal text. Wallenstein itself was a part of German historical consciousness, with the potential to mould German national identity.

    Wallenstein was canonical and, more importantly, versatile. Ben Jonson’s observation ‘that Shakespeare “was not of an age but for all time” ’ applies to Schiller, the ‘Zeitgenosse aller Epochen’, too,...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Schiller, Wallenstein, and the Culture of the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 86-110)

    ‘Wer kennt und bewundert nicht die Wallensteinische Trilogie, die wie der Friedland unter den Helden des blutigsten aller Kriege, als Heros unter den dramatischen Werken glänzt?’¹ Thus began a review of Wallensteins Tod in 1827, in tones which had become common in the twenty-eight years since the drama was first performed. Moving away from literary portrayals of Wallenstein, this chapter aims to discover the pervasiveness and significance of Schiller’s Wallenstein figure in wider nineteenth-century German culture. First, it will establish the position of Wallenstein in the consensus of literary and theatrical criticism as representative of Schiller’s works and of German...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Historiography I: Wallenstein as Grossdeutscher and Kleindeutscher
    (pp. 111-144)

    What did Schiller contribute to the historical study of Wallenstein? Defining the contribution of a literary text to historiography is problematic. Wallenstein is not and does not claim to be factually accurate; moreover the suggestion that belles lettres can contribute to historical scholarship has traditionally met with hostility.¹ There is, of course, common ground. Droysen’s Historik used literary terminology to emphasize history’s representational nature:

    Die erzählende Darstellung stellt das Erforschte in der μίμησις seines Werdens dar; sie rekonstruiert es zu einem genetischen Bilde. Nur scheinbar sprechen hier die Tatsachen allein, objektiv; sie wären stumm ohne den Erzähler, der sie sprechen...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Historiography II: The Reichsgründung and Afterwards
    (pp. 145-172)

    Two events of different magnitudes made the late 1860s a caesura in Wallenstein historiography. First, in 1869 Leopold von Ranke stepped into a debate which had stagnated around the same questions, bringing his ability to write clear, engaging history and his authority as ‘der Meister der deutschen Geschichtschreibung’ to bear on the material.¹ Just as Förster’s works had essentially remained the main point of reference thus far (Hurter’s defence of Ferdinand replied to Förster’s attack over twenty years after the publication of Wallensteins Briefe), so Ranke now set a new milestone which looked set to dominate for the years to...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Wallenstein and the First World War
    (pp. 173-202)

    The perception of Wallenstein as relevant to the German nation had faded after the founding of the Kaiserreich, but the outbreak of war in August 1914 seemed to put him, and the Thirty Years War, back on the agenda; he was, after all, the best-known warrior from the greatest war in German historical consciousness. Likewise Schiller was again made relevant to the contemporary climate. Oskar Walzel invoked the fragment ‘Deutsche Größe’ in 1915 as Schiller’s ‘Lobpreisung deutscher Kulturarbeit’;¹ in the poem ‘Führer’ (1914) Ernst Lissauer named him as one of a ‘Generalstab der Geister, mitwaltend über der Schlacht’.² Just as...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 203-206)

    Schiller’s position as Wallenstein’s Homer was still unchallenged in 1920. He made Wallenstein prominent and influenced the way subsequent writers perceived the figure. This was not confined to literary works and literary quotation; according to a prominent historian of the Thirty Years War,

    mit Schiller beginnt in der Geschichte der Geschichtsschreibung etwas Neues — nicht für die deutsche Geschichtswissenschaft im Allgemeinen, wohl aber für die geschichtliche Erforschung und Darstellung des Dreißigjährigen Krieges. Schiller hat einen Perspektivenwechsel begründet.¹

    Ideas based in the drama remained popular, even if the drama itself did not validate them. Wallenstein was persistently seen as a forward...

    (pp. 207-242)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 243-252)