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Title: Schiller's view of tragedy in the light of his general aesthetics
Author: Appelbaum, Ilse W. B.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1951
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Schiller's tragedies, his theory of tragedy, the relation between the latter and his general aethetics, and, finally, the relation between his aesthetics as a whole and his tragedies have all been exhaustively discussed during the last century and a half. By justification for submitting yet another study on the relation between Schiller's theory and practice is that I attempt to examine Schiller's poetry qua poetry, and by the method appropriate to the study of poetry; his aesthetics qua aesthetics, by the method appropriate to that discipline and with some knowledge of its problems and achievements; and lastly, the relation between postic practice and aesthetic theorym in due awareness of the delicate critical problem involved. This approach, it is hoped, will do more justice to the complexity of the subject than the customary approach to it from an overall biographical, philosophical, or 'ideengeschichtlichen' point of view. Such studies have resulted in views of Schiller that are conflicting with each other and contradictory in themselves. By making due allowances for the distinct nature and objective of statements made in a poetic, aesthetic and general philosophic context, respectively, and by approaching each with the method of investigation appropriate to it, no difficulty has been found in seeing the closest relation between the various aspects of Schiller's work. The detailed textual analysis of Schiller's tragedies has brought to light a well-defined pattern of tragedy in which certain fundamental features remain constant. The tragic theme is found to be concerned with the interaction of the individual and with the tragic untenability of onesidedness. The tragic hero, though in fact onesided, throughout Schiller's tragedies maintains a contemplative pose: he appears to be resting in the enjoyment of his full human potential. Lastly, the structural principle of externalisation is found to be operative throughout the tragedies: the protagonists are linked by the fact that each is the embodiment of those functions which the other suppresses in himself. This pattern of tragedy is borne out and explained by Schiller's theory of tragedy and general aesthetic theory. The tragic fact of onesidedness finds its explanation in the Asthetische Briefe, which define onesidedness as the tragic predicament of modern civilisation and propound that ideal of integration and totality which is the criterion of value that is operative throughout the tragedies. The contemplative bias of the tragic hero, which belies his real condition, is explained by the purely formal considerations put forward in Uber des Pathetische and borne out by every aesthetic essay from Schiller's pen. The dualistic structure of the tragedies, finally, is seen on the one hand to be an expression of Schiller's view of reality as expounded in the Asthetische Briefe; on the other hand it is governed by formal considerations voiced throughout his aesthetic writings. Thus that homogeneity of Schiller's art and aesthetics which impressed Goethe and Humboldt and which of late has tended to be lost out of sight, emerges as the final result of this thesis. It is hoped that the unified conception it presents will carry conviction in the measure in which it is based on the awareness, rather than the denial, of complexity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: German Literature