Heinrich von Kleist: Die Hermannsschlacht [Hermann's Battle]

(1369 words)
  • William C. Reeve (Queen's University at Kingston Ontario)

Written as a drame à clef to promote a self-evident political agenda and conceived of with typically Kleistian enthusiasm, Die Hermannsschlacht [Hermann’s Battle] has met with either a warm or cool reception upon the stage almost solely on the basis of the current German political climate. Kleist intended his version of Arminius’s defeat of the Romans in the year 9 CE as a propaganda play to incite the Prussians and the Austrians to unite against their common foe, France, but Napoleon’s victory at Wagram rendered performance impossible. The drama first gained recognition during the drive for German unification with the Schleswig-Holstein affair in the 1860s, but the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) brought it …

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Reeve, William C.. "Die Hermannsschlacht". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13117, accessed 28 September 2016.]