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Literature and Censorship in Restoration Germany

Literature and Censorship in Restoration Germany: Repression and Rhetoric

Katy Heady
Volume: 48
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 230
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81kzn
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  • Book Info
    Literature and Censorship in Restoration Germany
    Book Description:

    In 1819, the German Confederation promulgated the infamous "Carlsbad Decrees," establishing censorship standards aimed at thwarting the political aspirations of post-Napoleonic Germany's rapidly emerging public sphere. This most comprehensive system of st

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-745-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)

    The suppression of utterance is a factor common to all forms of discourse. Not only is it impossible to express every idea that enters one’s mind; in order to articulate a thought, it is also necessary to select the appropriate words from a wide range of possibilities, the rest of which are thereby rejected. Choices about what to say and how to say it inevitably involve choices about what not to say; and under most circumstances such decisions are shaped by an awareness of the rules of discourse applicable to a particular situation. Conversational etiquette may influence how much we...

  6. 1: Sex, Religion, and Violence: Christian Dietrich Grabbe’s Herzog Theodor von Gothland
    (pp. 29-50)

    In 1822, the young and rather unenthusiastic law student Christian Dietrich Grabbe sent a copy of his recently completed drama, Herzog Theodor von Gothland,¹ to the celebrated poet Ludwig Tieck. In his letter of reply, Tieck acknowledged the young writer’s talent and the Gothland play’s “große Gedanken, die auch mehr wie einmal kräftig ausgedrückt sind,”² but also expressed disappointment at the play’s cruelty and cynicism, a reaction that was echoed in later responses to the drama following its publication in 1827.³ Such elements of disapproval in the contemporary reception of Gothland can be related both to the brutal language of...

  7. 2: The Denomination of the Devil: Christian Dietrich Grabbe’s Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung
    (pp. 51-68)

    As mentioned in the previous chapter, Grabbe’s first comedy, Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung,¹ also had to be adapted to the demands of state censorship before its publication within Dramatische Dichtungen von Grabbe. Nebst einer Abhandlung über die Shakspearo-Manie in 1827. The Lustspiel was originally composed within a few weeks during the summer of 1822, shortly after the completion of Gothland. Following Ludwig Tieck’s disapproving reaction to the tragedy’s nihilistic pessimism, Grabbe sent him a copy of Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung in December 1822, with an assurance that “ich will mich von jetzt an bemühen, bloß heitere...

  8. 3: “Was soll ich nicht sagen?”: Heinrich Heine’s Briefe aus Berlin
    (pp. 69-94)

    Like the ending of Grabbe’s Herzog Theodor von Gothland and the whole of his Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung, Heinrich Heine’s Briefe aus Berlin¹ was composed in Berlin in the early 1820s. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the two young writers were reasonably well-acquainted, and there is even a story that Grabbe threatened to kill Heine if he ever discovered that the latter had attacked him in print.² Yet, if this incident took place, it did not prevent Heine from reading an early manuscript of Gothland and expressing confidence that it would be a success.³ Both men published...

  9. 4: Smuggling or Stalemate?: Heinrich Heine’s Reise von München nach Genua
    (pp. 95-117)

    Throughout the 1820s, repressive government actions such as those described in Briefe aus Berlin continued to stifle political life throughout the German lands. The Carlsbad Decrees were renewed in 1824, and surveillance of universities, persecution of political dissidents, and censorship controls prevented the emergence of any serious threat to the status quo before 1830. The reactionary climate affected Heine directly: officially implemented anti-Semitism led him to become baptized as a Protestant shortly before receiving his doctorate in law in 1825; and when first published in the Gesellschafter in 1826, his poetic travelogue Die Harzreise suffered severe cuts due to censorship.¹...

  10. 5: Too Nice a King for the People?: Franz Grillparzer’s König Ottokars Glück und Ende
    (pp. 118-169)

    Franz Grillparzer’s own account of the painful passage of König Ottokars Glück und Ende¹ through Viennese censorship mechanisms has become one of the most celebrated anecdotes of Austrian censorship history. According to the playwright’s “Selbstbiographie” (written in 1853), when he handed his historical drama over to the censors in 1823, neither he nor Josef Schreyvogel, the Theatersekretär at the Burgtheater, expected any problems, “da, wenn das regierende Haus eigens einen Schmeichler bezahlt hätte, dieser der Handlung keine günstigere Wendung geben konnte, als die dramatische Notwendigkeit von selber aufgedrungen hatte.”² Despite this confidence, however, nothing was heard about the manuscript for...

  11. 6: The Artist Fights Back: Franz Grillparzer’s Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen
    (pp. 170-196)

    In the years that followed the first performances of König Ottokar, Franz Grillparzer’s relationship with the Viennese censorship authorities remained troubled. Despite the playwright’s essential loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty and popularity with contemporary theatergoers, the restrictions placed by censorship on his writing continued to cause him intense frustration. His resentment is perhaps expressed most powerfully in the following diary extract from April 1826:

    Wer mir die Vernachläßigung meines Talentes zum Vorwurf macht, der sollte vorher bedenken, wie in dem ewigen Kampf mit Dummheit und Schlechtigkeit endlich der Geist ermattet. Wie, um nicht immerfort verletzt zu werden, endlich kein Mittel...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 197-202)

    In her analysis of the relationship between literature and censorship during the Restoration period, Edda Ziegler discusses the difficulty of determining precisely the effect of press controls on contemporary texts. Drawing attention to the importance of Selbstzensur in writing practices during the period, Ziegler points out that this process starts with the “gedankliche [. . .] Konzeption eines Textes” and therefore can never be reconstructed in its entirety.¹ It is impossible to know how much material was suppressed due to censorship pressure and never written down.

    Ziegler’s reminder of the indeterminable reach of censorship controls is important and calls to...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-216)
  14. Index
    (pp. 217-222)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-223)