Philosophical Inspirations for Violent Fiction and Drama: Heinrich von Kleist and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Philosophical Inspirations for Violent Fiction and Drama: Heinrich von Kleist and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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dc.contributor.author Howe, Steven Mark en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2010-10-14T16:28:09Z en_GB
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-25T17:20:27Z en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-21T11:38:36Z
dc.date.issued 2010-06-01 en_GB
dc.description.abstract Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) is renowned as an author who posed a radical challenge to the prevailing intellectual, aesthetic and ethical orthodoxies of his age. Recently, his elusive works have frequently been seen to represent a poetics of irony that relentlessly deconstructs the philosophical paradigms of Idealism and reflects a Romantic, even postmodern, view of the fundamental ambiguities of the world. For all that this contributes to our understanding of the famed plasticity and inexhaustibility of his texts, however, a limited reading along these lines effects a decided levelling of social, political and intellectual context, and fails to do full justice to the more complex manner in which Kleist articulates the tensions between the secure modalities of Enlightenment thought and the deep anxieties of the revolutionary age. This study aims to offer a new angle on Kleist’s dialogue with the Enlightenment by reconsidering his investment in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Where previously critics have tended to conceptualise this from a biographical perspective as a temporary, personal interest borne of the strict antinomies of nature-civilisation and individual-society, an attempt will be made here to re-establish Rousseau’s specific importance as a political thinker whose theories remained a fertile source of creative inspiration and critical reflection for the violent constellations of Kleist’s fiction and drama. Focusing on a cross-section of his work, particular focus will be placed on his explorations of the links between religion and fanaticism (Das Erdbeben in Chili), the legitimacy of revolutionary violence (Die Verlobung in St. Domingo), the performance of nationhood (Die Herrmannsschlacht), and the relationship between patriotism and liberty (Prinz Friedrich von Homburg). Set in the historical context of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, a mode of discourse will be located which sheds new, important, and at times unexpected, light on the political and ethical issues at play in Kleist’s work. en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship AHRC en_GB
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10036/112954 en_GB
dc.language.iso en en_GB
dc.publisher University of Exeter en_GB
dc.rights.embargoreason To allow publication en_US
dc.rights.embargoreason To enable publication of the research en_US
dc.title Philosophical Inspirations for Violent Fiction and Drama: Heinrich von Kleist and Jean-Jacques Rousseau en_GB
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_GB
dc.date.available 2013-10-31T04:00:29Z
dc.contributor.advisor Schmidt, Ricarda en_GB
dc.publisher.department Modern Languages en_GB
dc.type.degreetitle PhD in German en_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_GB
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_GB


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