Heinrich von Kleist (3194 words)

William C. Reeve (Queen's University at Kingston Ontario)
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Now recognized as the most “modern” and most performed German classical dramatist and as the author of eight narrative masterpieces, Heinrich von Kleist never saw any of his plays on stage and achieved notoriety throughout most of the 19th century primarily for his scandalous suicide. Because his dramas were considered unperformable and dealt with socially unacceptable themes such as rape, sado-masochism, guerilla warfare or a Prussian officer's fear of death, they could only appear in adaptations until the 20th century. Suddenly, a writer who identified art with life and whom his contemporaries had rejected as a “sick” romantic had anticipated the crisis of modernity and raised crucial existential issues. Since Jean Vilar's …

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Citation:
Reeve, William C.. "Heinrich von Kleist". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 August 2003
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5477, accessed 16 October 2018.]


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