Friday, March 21, 2014

Grillparzer on Goethe

Grillparzer, ca. 1827, by Moritz Michael Dafflinger

I love this epigram by Franz Seraphicus Grillparzer about Goethe:

Er war nicht kalt, wie ihr wohl meint,
Nur hielt er die Wärme zu wenig vereint
Und da er sie teilte zuletzt ins All,
Kam wenig auf jeden einzelnen Fall

Grillparzer is a German-language writer whom I have barely studied (likewise, Jean Paul), but Fritz Strich wrote his dissertation on the Austrian writer: Franz Grillparzers Ästhetik (1905, under Franz Muncker; reprinted Hildesheim, 1977). In it, the "inductive aesthetician" Grillparzer was portrayed developing his anti-Romantic theories on the writings of Lessing, Goethe and Schiller, Kant, the German Romantic theorists (toward whom he felt a special animus), Hegel and his followers, and Friedrich Bouterweck.

According to my friend Paula Fichtner, author of Historical Dictionary of Austria (Scarecrow Press, 2nd ed., 2009), Grillparzer's career as author and dramatist "developed even as he toiled somewhat resentfully as a bureaucrat." At his death in 1856 he was director of the imperial treasury archives. There were literary successes in his life, but also failures. According to Fichtner, the negative public reaction to his play Weh dem der Lügt (Woe unto the Liar, 1838) caused the "hypersensitive dramatist to stop writing for the state altogether." He also had unpleasant experiences with government censorship.

Source: Franz Grillparzer, Sämtliche Werke, vol. 1 (Munich, 1960–1965), p. 476.

No comments: