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The «Individualität» of August von Platen

Subjectivity and Solipsism at the Close of the "Kunstperiode</I>


Richard Dove

Platen, in the critical imagination, is a classicistic formalist who hid his anguished life behind imitative art. This cliché - which originates in Heine's early caricature - has not been corrected because of a virtual absence of close analyses of the kind undertaken in this study. There is shown to be unsuspected continuity in experiments with lyric forms as different as Lied, ghasel, sonnet, ode, idyll and «Pindaric» hymn; Platen appears as a decidedly confessional, even histrionic, writer in the wake of Byron, and his subjectivity proves strong and unrepentant enough to be comparable to Heine's own.
Contents: Imitation and Individuality - The Critique of Schwärmerei - Weltschmerz - From Abstract to Concrete - Revisions - Rhetoric - From Persia to Italy - «Classicism» - Symbolism? - Images - Comparison of poems from all periods of Platen's writing life.