Essai sur les femmes : suivi de Le Ménage à trois (La Petite Collection t. 470) (French Edition)
This also meant Schlegel. We can imagine him as a lecturer in Jena or Berlin reading verse with good accentuation and even with feeling; and we know of his concern—also shared by Goethe— that the actors in Ion in Weimar should speak their lines well. Of his acting skills we know less. The ever-malicious Benjamin Constant claimed that he was comical in tragedy and not happy in comedy, but that we may largely discount. Schlegel knew, as probably no-one else present did, that Lessing had once subjected this play to one of his elegant demolitions in the Hamburgische Dramaturgie , and Schlegel had already made no secret of his disdain for French neo-classicism.
This was in the article that he sent to the Berliner Damen-Kalender for thus late in , Ueber einige tragische Rollen von Frau v. She had of course been romantically associated with Schlegel in Berlin, and he had paid court to her in verse —and, who knows, perhaps in other form. The context is crucial. Similarly, he would be careful not to display too many of the prejudices against French and to some extent Italian neo-classicism to which his Berlin lectures had most recently given expression. Schlegel assured his German readers that she possessed the poise, the ease of movement and gesture, the mastery of spoken language, that the actor must have, but above all the ability to make the poetic character her own, to act from within the dictates of her own heart, to empathise, to draw the audience into her own pain and suffering.
There was none of the alleged forced declamation of some of the leading Paris actors. Apart from its ability to move Schlegel found words in French verse , the play has the merit of breaking with the conventions of the French stage, being in prose, allowing for mime, and with instrumental interludes between the speeches. Diana, Aurora, Atalanta, Althea—the gamut of mythological emotion, terror, dignity, fury, despair—came easily to Ida. Schlegel wrote a poem in her honour. First, they went to Lyon, then to Auxerre.
She disclaimed any interest in politics, only a wish to live in the metropolis, but Napoleon and his agents were inexorable. She could at least send Schlegel and Albert to Paris for ten days, which happened in May. In August, however, Schlegel fell ill. There is something of the Wunderdoktor and charlatan about him, especially his magnetic cures; there is also no doubt that he was skilled at his profession.
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His approach to Schlegel was holistic, prescribing what was thought appropriate at the time and rightly warning him not to take too much quinine , also probing into his state of mind. Could there not be some hidden cause for this persistent fever, some worry or anxiety or grief? She was to be there from the end of November until April The rest of the time was more disciplined, with museums, libraries, theatre.
She in her turn was taking Schlegel more and more into her confidence, using him as a signatory on documents for loans with an eye to purchasing property in France Acosta was one possibility.
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She signed a contract with the publisher Nicolle, and arranged with Cotta for the German translation to be done by Friedrich Schlegel in fact, by Dorothea. She was sending Auguste back to Geneva to prepare him for his confirmation, the religious education of her children being something that she took very seriously. His mother meanwhile was not making it easy for those around her. She was putting out feelers to Metternich if only by sending him a copy of Corinne and other Austrian grandees.
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It was a novel about Italy, and essentially about two English characters in Italy, not French, and the main French character was largely unflattering. Its Anglophile sentiments, which admittedly did not extend to all the characters or all the moral situations, were another source of irritation. She would not back down, and the price was further exile. The extended family made its way back to Coppet in May-June, He would follow it up with the longer and more sustained review of the novel which appeared later in the year in the Jena Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung.
The first point could be dealt with in a few masterful and disdainful sentences; the second would require more circumspection.
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While not being exactly the Oswald to her Corinne—far from it—he had been her companion through much that was here translated into fiction, and he had helped to ease the pangs of its creation. The Germans, who like no other literary nation had placed artists in the centre of their drama and fiction, might be expected to be sympathetic to a novel about an artist, Corinne the chosen vessel of providence. They could take in their stride a many-stranded text that took a love story, a travelogue, and long passages of art criticism, and interlaced them into a successful whole, a balanced ensemble aspects that even well-intentioned readers today do not find easy to reconcile.
He was perhaps on less secure ground with the emotional content of the novel, but he made his position on Oswald clear immature and unsteady , and hoped that his female readers would agree. The envoi of the review was puzzling. Was he piqued that, say, Monti was directly quoted in the text, while he and his brother Friedrich, whose Romantic art appreciation from Europa certainly informed passage after passage of the novel, were sidelined in a note each? It seemed that he was. The real Corinne would have forgiven him this little touch of personal vanity. Others would soon approach the novel with a definite parti pris.
They paused here long enough for Schlegel to meet the librarian and to be shown two Roman mosaics in the city. It gave him the opportunity for his first piece of sustained archaeological description: a longer account of the scene of a chariot race on the one surface, and a shorter section on an allegorical scene of sensual and spiritual love. Schlegel shows here that he can be technical and learned, while also giving a spirited portrayal of the scenes depicted.
The two ladies made an excursion to the glaciers at Chamonix: the reflected sunlight threatened to ruin their complexions. The savant-traveller was also—how could it be otherwise? He kept his ears open for gradations in dialect: knowing Middle High German, he would spot the affinities of Swiss German and this older form. The journey on foot was also a progression through pristine nature and uncorrupted morals. True, there were three set-piece descriptions that showed an eye for both nature and human customs; and there was disapproval of the tourism that had already sprung up.
Prince August of Prussia, who was forced to spend six weeks in Coppet while waiting for passports for himself and Clausewitz, fell passionately in love with her during the time he spent at Coppet they later vowed eternal love, without marriage. Closer in time, he would state to his sister-in-law Dorothea Schlegel that he merely wanted to stir things up, get people annoyed, and to Goethe he used a similar tone. When these lectures were available, first in German, then in French, the full extent of his thinking on the notion of the classic, on classicism, on neo-classicism, would be shown in its widest context.
Title page. It was a question of how one approached revival or recrudescence, not the principle itself. By placing this passage in the centre of his treatise, Schlegel was aligning himself with someone who had entered the Greek world with heart and mind and soul and spirit.
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She did not place Racine on a pinnacle for all time, as Voltaire had done. All the same, when directing the same notion of progress towards Greek drama, she placed the trio Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides in descending order of merit. There were further contradictions. While correctly seeing that Euripides and Racine are basically different, she was unable to suppress the insight that only a Frenchman, not a Greek, could have written.
He could be more outspoken before the audience of his Vienna Lectures a year later. As said, it stands essentially between the Berlin Lectures and those in Vienna, rehearsing some insights of the one and anticipating views expressed later. In the Comparaison we have the same gradation of esteem but also for the sake of his argument an implicit equality. Inconsistencies creep in. He does not bring out essential but equally valid differences, as Herder had done forty years earlier when comparing Sophocles with Shakespeare. He notes rather how much Racine has borrowed from his Greek source and how much he has changed, not why a seventeenth-century dramatist would find many motifs from Greek tragedy unsuitable or why he would read them differently from antiquity or from the early nineteenth century , bound as he was by the conventions of his own theatre that called for a love intrigue quite impossible in Athens but permissible in Paris.
Schlegel cannot deny that the play has great beauty of verse and diction, but that is about all he is prepared to concede.
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Why this is so, he never discusses; there is no mention of the Jansenist doctrines of Port-Royal or of exemplary states of grace. Here Schlegel is rehearsing arguments that inform the second cycle of his Vienna Lectures. Constant noted nothing in his journal. Barante was displeased.
Once Schlegel found himself in the imperial capital, these two enterprises became joined in one effort. This he already knew, and in a sense the rumour—for it was no more than that—of his sailing to America provided the answer.
Sophie of course wanted money: divorce was an expensive business, especially a messy one involving custody of children. August Wilhelm had to hear promptings from his brother about his talent as a dramatist, about careers in new universities like Berlin, just being founded. Dorothea, extending her rapt admiration for Friedrich to her brother-in-law, averred that the two would be the pyramids that would outlast everything of their age.
August Wilhelm was to give his poem a prominent position in the reissue of his poetic works that he oversaw in Was August Wilhelm the author? This is only one side. For this periodical Schlegel produced a corpus of learned reviews that must rank as a scholarly achievement almost commensurate with the more accessible Vienna Lectures. The list does not necessarily end there. By the same token, it is also without doubt that Schlegel certainly gave advice on German literature and thought to his benefactress which she in fact acknowledged.
The plan of a comprehensive work on Germany—its people, culture, letters, moeurs , in brief whatever the French needed to learn about this fascinating nation in the north that was paradoxically not yet a nation—had never left her. Now, there was the south, and there was Austria. They had met in Venice in , and she had not forgotten him. The disparity in their ages was no hindrance, as other admirers and lovers knew or were to know. Schelling and Schlegel were on their best behaviour and discoursed amicably, while agreeing to differ in private.
It was also to be the last time that he saw her. But Munich also had its drawbacks: the Montgelas administration was pro-French; the Elector Max Joseph of Bavaria was now king by the grace of Napoleon. The Emperor, as so often, was forthright, blunt and rude; he then relented and adopted a more kindly tone.
Might not a little credit accrue to his tutor Schlegel? Within a week, she had been received by the Emperor Francis and two royal archdukes. Her letters are studded with other grand names—Lobkowitz, Lichtenstein, Lubomirski, Potocki. It needs to be said that her every step was followed by the assiduous Austrian police, they having taken over from the equally zealous but more efficient Napoleonic surveillance system.
This was partly his own doing, and partly because, as so often, he was ahead of his times. Ever since their removal to Paris and then Cologne, Friedrich had been doing just that.