Franz Grillparzer, perhaps the greatest nineteenth-century Austrian playwright, played a decisive role in shaping the ideal of Austria as a European multi-national empire. A cosmopolitan deeply indebted to the Enlightenment, he cherished individualism and individual rights. His writings reveal an increasing disillusionment with the emerging nationalist and ethnocentric paradigms that place collective interests above the individual. Grillparzer was critical of the developments leading to a German national state and characterized the course of German education (


) since Hegel as a progression from “humanism to nationalism to bestiality”.

Regardless of the setting of his texts – Greek antiquity, medieval and early modern society – Grillparzer's primary interest was his own age.

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Citation: Lorenz, Dagmar C. G.. "Franz Grillparzer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2004 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

5600 Franz Grillparzer 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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