CHAPTER III German Nationalism in the 19th Centuryfrom Heinrich von Kleist to “Die Wacht am Rhein” 51
Chapter III German Nationalism in the 19th Century from Heinrich von Kleist to “Die Wacht am Rhein” Heinrich von Kleist was born in 1777 in Frankfurt/Oder into a noble Prussian family of Junkers and officers.1 He became a soldier at the age of 15 and a lieutenant at 18, but quit the service two years later. He attended the University of Frankfurt/Oder for three semesters only, studying among other subjects philosophy, particularly that of Kant. He also spent consid- erable time traveling and in literary pursuits. He seldom had a permanent abode. In 1804 he obtained a minor government post in Königsberg. In 1807, in Berlin, he was arrested by French authorities on suspicion of being a spy and held for almost a year. For the remaining years of his life he felt an intense hatred of the French occupiers, an intense patriotism, and an intense desire to see Germany liberated, as he was intense in all of his views and activities. He lost his parents early and was beset by financial difficulties most of his life. He was unhappy in love and emotionally unstable, even suffering a nervous breakdown at one point. He received much support, both financial and emotional, from his sister Ulrike. In 1811 he ended his life and the life of a woman whom he loved in a murder-suicide pact at the banks of the Wannsee in Potsdam, where the couple was also buried (ill. 3).2 Of his many literary works two shall be...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.