'Ihr habt verbreitet / Die Lehre der Klassiker': Bertolt Brecht und Heiner Müller lesen Kleists Prinz Friedrich von Homburg

Translated title of the contribution: 'You have disseminated/the teachings of the classics': Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller read Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg

Michael Gratzke (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Drawing on Heiner Müller's acceptance speech following the award of the Kleist Prize in 1990, this article explores a history of reception running from Heinrich von Kleist via Bertolt Brecht to Heiner Müller. Despite the rejection of Prussian militarism by both Müller and Brecht - and their scepticism about Prussia's enlightened status - the history and literature of Prussia serve as a foil against which the ideological conflicts of the twentieth century can be played out. For both Brecht and Müller, Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg serves as a productive model for the subjugation of the outsider by the collective. A reading of this model is proposed that emphasises not the success or failure of the Prince's education, but rather the opposition between the Prince and Hohenzollern. This opposition is carried over by Brecht in his work on Fatzer (1927-32) and informs the opposition between the functionary K(euner) and the anarchist Fatzer. Müller understands these two figures as an indivisible pair Keuner ± Fatzer (1982). Although historically and ideologically remote, Kleist's Prussian fantasy is not fundamentally different from the dream of a better Germany shared by both Brecht and Müller. The reason for this can be traced back to Kleist's recognition that a non-violent mutual recognition of individuals is impossible and that - in line with the 'Homburg model'- such conflicts must be played out in a mode that is both dialectical and performative.

    Translated title of the contribution'You have disseminated/the teachings of the classics': Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller read Kleist's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg
    Original languageGerman
    Pages (from-to)455-471
    Number of pages17
    JournalGerman Life and Letters
    Volume64
    Issue number3
    Early online date7 Jun 2011
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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