THE DESIRE TO CONTROL DEATH: Heinrich von Kleist’s Epistolary Correspondence on Schicksal, Tod and Selbstmord

in "Wenn sie das Wort Ich gebraucht"
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With its prominence of death and suicide, Kleist’s correspondence provides the modern reader with a literary image of an individual in crisis. This essay probes how Kleist moves from one existence to another, from soldier to civil servant, without finding order and fulfillment, and how he deconstructs eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophical discourses without finding meaning. By concentrating on the theme of suicide in his letters, this contribution explores how Kleist becomes disillusioned with the Enlightenment; it discusses his so-called ‘Kant-crisis’ as one aspect of his personal dilemma, and elucidates his views on suicide and death and how he differentiates between sudden death and suicide.

"Wenn sie das Wort Ich gebraucht"

Festschrift für Barbara Becker-Cantarino von FreundInnen, SchülerInnen und KollegInnen


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