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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: German Critic
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0239  Friday, 12 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Richard A Burt <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 09:03:22 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic

[2]     From:   Emma French <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 10:14:04 PST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic

[3]     From:   Werner Habicht <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Feb 1999 00:13:04 +0100
        Subj:   SHK 10.0237 Nietzsche (Germany is Hamlet)

[4]     From:   Paul Franssen <
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        Date:   Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:20:08 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A Burt <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 09:03:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0237 Q: German Critic
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic

I am not sure, but you might check Manfred Pfister's article on the
German reception of Hamlet in _Shakespeare in the New Europe__, ed. M.
Hattaway et al (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Publishing, 1994).

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Emma French <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 10:14:04 PST
Subject: 10.0237 Q: German Critic
Comment:        RE: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic

A couple of educated guesses for the German critic in question are Eric
Heller or JP Stern. Emma French

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Werner Habicht <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Feb 1999 00:13:04 +0100
Subject: Nietzsche (Germany is Hamlet)
Comment:        SHK 10.0237 Nietzsche (Germany is Hamlet)

Karen Peterson-Kranz may be assured that it was not a "critic" who
coined the much-abused phrase "Germany is Hamlet". It was a poet who
used to enjoy a certain popularity: Ferdinand Freiligrath. The words are
the beginning of his gloomy political poem of the 1840s in which Hamlet
appears as a symbol of German disunity and inactivity and as such is
confronted with the impatience of a rebellious young generation at a
time of restoration and immobility. For some time its author had to live
in exile in London - like Karl Marx, with whom he became friends. He
also translated Venus and Adonis. The curious fact is that subsequently
those first words of a poem should, especially in non-German accounts,
have been divorced from their original negative context and turned into
a slogan suggestive of a more objectionable vainglorious identification
of Germany with the Shakespearean Dane.  But surely Nietzsche had
nothing to do with that.

Werner Habicht

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Franssen <
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Date:           Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:20:08 +0100
Subject: 10.0237 Q: German Critic
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0237 Q: German Critic

Karen Peterson-Krantz asked about a German critic who compared Germany
to Hamlet; I would not know about a critic, but there is the German poet
Freiligrath, who wrote a poem entitled, "Deutschland ist Hamlet" (1844),
"Germany is Hamlet." The general idea is that of German indecisiveness
in the mid-nineteenth century, its failure to achieve national unity;
this is compared to Hamlet's inability to act. Laertes, who has studied
in Paris, is cast as the French, that villainous nation that are always
poised to stick their poisoned swords into poor, indecisive Germany. For
more detailed information on the history of German reception of
Shakespeare's works and its political background, see Werner Habicht's
work on the subject, particularly Shakespeare and the German Imagination
which was published by the International Shakespeare Association in
1994.

Paul Franssen
English Department
Utrecht University
The Netherlands
 

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