Pre Romantic Attitudes To Landscape In The Writings Of Friedrich Schiller [Hardcover ed.] 311012825X, 9783110128253

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Pre Romantic Attitudes To Landscape In The Writings Of Friedrich Schiller [Hardcover ed.]
 311012825X, 9783110128253

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Sheila Margaret Benn Pre-Romantic Attitudes to Landscape in the Writings of Friedrich Schiller

Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker Begründet von

Bernhard Ten Brink und Wilhelm Scherer

Neue Folge Herausgegeben von

Stefan Sonderegger

99 (223)

w DE

G Walter de Gruyter • Berlin • New York


Pre-Romantic Attitudes to Landscape in the Writings of Friedrich Schiller by

Sheila Margaret Benn

w DE

_G Walter de Gruyter • Berlin • New York



of Congress



Benn, Sheila Margaret, 1963 — Pre-romantic attitudes to landscape in the writings of Friedrich Schiller / by Sheila Margaret Benn. p. cm. — (Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprachund Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker ; n. F., 99) Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 3-11-012825-X (Berlin). - (ISBN 0-89925-810-7 (U. S.) 1. Schiller, Friedrich, 1759 — 1805 — Criticism and interpretation. 2. Nature in literature. 3. Landscape in literature. 4. Gardens in literature. I. Title. II. Series. PT2496.N3B46 1991 831'.6-dc20 91-3579 CIP

Die Deutsche



Benn, Sheila Margaret: Pre-romantic attitudes to landscape in the writings of Friedrich Schiller / by Sheila Margaret Benn. — Berlin ; New York : de Gruyter, 1991 (Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker ; N. F., 99 = 223) Zugl.: London, Univ., Diss., 1989 ISBN 3-11-012825-X NE: GT

ISSN 0481-3596 © Copyright 1991 by Walter de Gruyter & Co., D-1000 Berlin 30. Dieses Werk einschließlich aller seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung außerhalb der engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung des Verlages unzulässig und strafbar. Das gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Ubersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen. Printed in Germany Druck: Werner Hildebrand, Berlin Buchbinderische Verarbeitung: Lüderitz & Bauer, Berlin

For Robin Benn

Acknowledgements I should like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Robin Harrison, for his encouragement, thoughtful criticism and valuable suggestions and to Bill Abbey of the Institute of Germanic Studies for his help on numerous occasions. I also wish to thank Robin Benn, whose enthusiasm for this undertaking never faltered and whose support and patience have done much to help me complete the work. Finally, I should like to thank our respective parents and sisters for their sustained interest in this project.

Abstract My aim is to re-evaluate the traditional image of Schiller as hostile towards Nature. Whilst many works have been devoted to Goethe's attitude towards Nature, it has frequently been assumed that Schiller was merely an inward-looking philosopher who had no interest in the external world. This traditional view fails, however, to take account of Schiller's selfconfessed love of Nature and of his direct experience of the revolution in attitudes towards Nature which occurred during his lifetime. I examine how the modern pre-Romantic feeling for Nature, which manifested itself in an enthusiasm for a Rousseauian 'Return to Nature' and for English gardens, exotic landscapes and sublime mountain wildernesses, exercised a profound influence on his thought, permeating his philosophical essays, plays and poems in all periods of his writing. Having established that the traditional view of Schiller as hostile towards Nature arises in large part from the polarised image of Goethe as Nature-lover and Schiller as ivory tower aesthete, I investigate the landscape forms which were the focus of the new sensitivity towards Nature. I concentrate in particular on the manner in which these forms were portrayed in literary works by Schiller's contemporaries so that, in subsequent chapters, the extent of his adherence to the conventional representation of these landscapes can be established. I then detail his general response to the new feeling for Nature and his response to the particular landscape forms favoured by the Moderns: the English garden, the exotic and the natural sublime. I examine how Schiller's view of the times and in particular of the ills of modern society determines his interpretation of these landscape forms. His conviction that seeking out Nature can make modern Man aware of his highest potential and lead him to a new, higher harmony by curing both savagery and excessive relaxation prompts his criticism of the popular Rousseauian belief that a 'Return to Nature' should involve the complete abandonment of culture. I show that because of his conviction that contact with Nature can carry Man forward to perfection, he is concerned with legitimising the Moderns' love of English gardens, exotic landscapes and mountain scenery, seizing every opportunity to instruct the Moderns as to



how the true feeling for Nature differs from the aberrant manifestations of this feeling. It emerges that far from showing hostility towards Nature, Schiller in fact urges modern Man to seek as much contact as possible with it, for it will comfort him and heal all the divisions in his psyche. He has no intention of subscribing to the views of the neo-Classicists who dismiss the revolution in attitudes towards Nature as a lapse of taste, for he constantly stresses that the new feeling for Nature and the novel literary forms to which it gives rise are appropriate to the needs of the Modems and the times in which they live. Above all, the image of Schiller which emerges from his writings is of a man who is sensitive to impressions from the external world and who views the new feeling for Nature as the single most important influence on the life of the Moderns.

Table of Contents Introduction


Chapter One: A Revolution in Taste



The Origins of the New Feeling for Nature: Jean-Jacques Rousseau II. The English Garden III. Exoticism IV. The Sublime

7 10 15 19

Chapter Two: Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature... 26 I.

Über Matthissons Gedichte



Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung


Chapter Three: Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93 I.


The Early Years


Don Carlos Der versöhnte Menschenfeind. Kallias oder über die Schönheit Four: Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

58 69 75 86


Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795



Schemata über den Dilettantismus

II. III. IV. Chapter

Chapter Five: Schiller and Exoticism I. II.

Schiller and Travel Reports Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestück

104 112 112 118

Table of Contents


Chapter Six: Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96 I. II.

The Early Years Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen über verschiedene ästhetische Gegenstände, Über das Erhabene III. Elegie [Der Spaziergang] Chapter Seven: Schiller and the Sublime 1801-1805 I. II. III. IV.

Die Jungfrau von Orleans Die Braut von Messina Wilhelm Teil Demetrius

132 132 139 153 162 162 172 186 201







Key Schiller's works are referred to by volume (roman numeral) and page (arabic numeral) of the Nationalausgabe, begründet von Julius Petersen; fortgeführt von Lieselotte Blumenthal und Benno von Wiese, herausgegeben im Auftrag der Nationalen Forschungs- und Gedenkstätten der klassischen deutschen Literatur in Weimar (Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv) und des Schiller-Nationalmuseums in Marbach von Norbert Oellers und Siegfried Seidel (Weimar, 1943 -). Because this edition is incomplete, on occasion it has also been necessary to refer to other editions of Schiller's works and letters. The following abbreviations are used: SA: Schillers Sämtliche Werke, Säkular-Ausgabe in 16 Binden, 16 vols (Stuttgart und Berlin, 1904-05) Jonas: Schillers Briefe, herausgegeben und mit Anmerkungen versehen von Fritz Jonas, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 7 vols (Stuttgart, no date) GA: Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, Gedenkausgabe der Werke, Briefe und Gespräche, herausgegeben von Ernst Beutler (Zürich, 1948 -) Th: Hirschfeld, Christian Cay Lorenz, Theorie der Gartenkunst, 5 vols (Leipzig, 1779-85) W: Kant, Immanuel, Werke in sechs Bänden, herausgegeben von Wilhelm Weischedel (Darmstadt, 1983) Abbreviations for periodical titles are in accordance with those used in The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies.

Introduction In contrast with the considerable amount of research devoted to Goethe's depiction of Nature and his concern with the external world, critical interest in Schiller's feeling for Nature has been largely non-existent. This neglect is due to the widespread view that Schiller was completely 'naturlos' and 'naturfremd'. Schiller is traditionally regarded as a 'Stubenhocker', confined to his study by recurrent bouts of illness and consequently completely alienated from the natural world. He is repeatedly described as an inward-looking philosopher who retreated into the ivory tower world of the intellect and of ideas. This image of Schiller has been reinforced by the tendency to contrast him with Goethe, who is traditionally regarded as an 'Augenmensch', deeply attached to the external world through his studies as a scientist and botanist, and whose love of Nature had been heightened by his travels to Switzerland and Italy. The origins of this traditional image of Goethe and Schiller as Nature-lover and man of ideas respectively can be traced back to their own lifetime. In a letter to Kömer of 12 August 1787, Schiller speaks scornfully of Goethe and his circle as having 'eine stolze philosophische Verachtung aller Speculation und Untersuchung, mit einem biß zur Affectation getriebenen Attachement an die Natur' (Jonas,1,381), and in a later letter to Körner of 1 November 1790, Schiller complains that Goethe's philosophy is too concerned with the material world, while he prefers a more inward-looking and speculative approach. These statements are, however, prompted by his pique at having been ignored by Goethe, the established and lauded author, and are belied by his actual writings. Goethe's displeasure at what he sees as Schiller's distaste for Nature is hardly less vocal. Speaking of Über Anmut und Würde, Goethe stresses Schiller's hostility towards Nature: 'Im höchsten Gefühl der Freiheit und Selbstbestimmung, war er undankbar gegen die große Mutter [ = die Natur], die ihn gewiß nicht stiefmütterlich behandelte. Anstatt sie als selbständig, lebendig vom Tiefsten bis zum Höchsten gesetzlich hervorbringend zu betrachten, nahm er sie von der Seite einiger empirischen



menschlichen Natürlichkeiten.'1 In addition, Goethe felt that Schiller's philosophical bent had a detrimental effect on his poetry, because it led him to attribute greater value to speculative ideas than to Nature, thus destroying Nature in the process.2 This view of Schiller as hostile towards Nature is perpetuated in twentieth-century criticism. Goethe's skill in re-creating Nature in his works is contrasted with Schiller's disregard for the details of the visual world, and Schiller is accused of having no feeling for Nature because his works do not re-create the sense of things to the same extent as those of Goethe. This criticism is especially clear in Thomas Mann's biographical study of Schiller, Schwere Stunde, in which he is presented as a writer who lacks any kind of positive relationship with Nature. The work opens in Schiller's bare and dreary study in Jena, where he is struggling with the recalcitrant material for Wallenstein. Mann stresses that Schiller is physically enclosed in his study; indeed, he is under virtual house arrest, since the doctor has ordered him to stay indoors because of his constant cold. Schiller is presented as a man who, because of illness, is alienated from Nature, for in the essay Goethe und Tolstoi, Mann defines illness as 'Abgetrenntheit von der Natur'. 3 Schiller is seen as similar to Gustav Aschenbach before his trip to Venice: he is an excessively hard worker, he regards writing and creativity as an act of will and not as a gift of Nature, and he moves exclusively in the sphere of intellect and freedom. Like Aschenbach, Schiller is portrayed as having a penchant for enclosed spaces and as having no desire to travel or to engage in fruitful dialogue with his external environment. In contrast, in Goethe und Tolstoi and Goethe als Repräsentant des bürgerlichen Zeitalters, Mann presents Goethe's sense of place as being diametrically opposed to that of Schiller. He associates Goethe with the feminine element of Nature, the 'große Mutter', in contrast with the masculine asceticism of Schiller's study. Goethe is depicted as being very close to Nature, and his life as having sensual immediacy. Mann particularly stresses his healthy constitution, his love of travel and his openness towards the external world. The relationship of Goethe and Schiller to Nature has been polarised in the traditional manner, and as usual, Schiller is portrayed as the inward-looking philosopher to whom the

Biographische Einzelnheiten: Erste Bekanntschaft mit Schiller, GA, XII, 621. See Johann Peter Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe in den letzten Jahren seines Lebens, GA, XXIV, 72. Gesammelte Werke in dreizehn Bänden, zweite, durchgesehene Auflage (Frankfurt am Main, 1974), IX, 80.


external world is merely an irritant, and Goethe as the extrovert Naturelover. Indeed, this view of Schiller as hostile towards Nature is so widely held that it has become a truism in twentieth-century criticism. Schiller, it is suggested, was incapable of appreciating or even of noticing landscape. Georg Jacob describes Schiller's attitude to Nature as 'fremd' and 'feindselig', contrasting it with the closeness of Goethe and Shakespeare to Nature. 4 Friedrich Wilhelm Wentzlaff-Eggebert contrasts Schiller's 'Naturferne' with Goethe's 'Natur-Nähe', arguing that Schiller lacked any real experience of Nature, and that any limited rapprochement occurred only through the influence of Goethe,5 and Claude David describes Schiller's idea of Nature as 'un négatif, une image en creux de sa pensée . . . une notion irritante, à laquelle Schiller vient se heurter, avec laquelle il se bat, sa vie durant'. 6 Eduard Spranger states that Schiller's being was characterised by 'Naturferne', with the result that he never experienced Nature as the 'große Mutter' or as a refuge, and was envious of Goethe's closeness to Nature.7 For H. B. Garland, Goethe's links with the physical world were far stronger than Schiller's: 'Standing firmly on the ground and taking pleasure in the exercise of his five senses, Goethe was at home in a world which Schiller had forsaken.' 8 In her study of Schiller's life and works of 1950, Melitta Gerhard implies that landscape depiction is an area in which Schiller has little expertise. Referring to Der Spaziergang, she makes a general comment about Schiller's relationship with Nature: 'Aber gerade der Versuch, das Organische und Naturhafte zu gestalten, führt, wie überall in seiner Dichtung, so auch hier an Schillers Grenzen' (p.335). In his Schiller monograph of 1967, Emil Staiger likewise stresses Schiller's lack of contact and loveless relationship with his natural environment. Staiger contrasts Schiller's lack of receptivity to his environment with the vivid sense of place and Nature which informs the works of Goethe, Eichendorff and Mörike. He interprets Schiller's experience of Shakespeares Naturverbundenheit im Vergleich mit Schillers und Goethes Verhältnis zur Natur, Vortrag am 12. Februar 1937 gehalten in der Hobbes-Gesellschaft zu Kiel (Glückstadt, 1937), p.25. Schillers Weg zu Goethe, Die kleinen de Gruyter Bände, 4, zweite, durchgesehene und erweiterte Auflage (Berlin, 1963), p.162 and p.174. 'La Notion de "Nature" chez Schiller', PEGS, NS, 29 (1960), 1-25 (p.3). 'Schillers Geistesart gespiegelt in seinen philosophischen Schriften und Gedichten', Abhandlungen der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, 13 (1941), 3-79 (pp.28-30 and p.76, note 34). Schiller (London, 1949), p.181.



Nature in terms of 'die Fremde des Lebens', using this concept to describe Schiller's alienation from reality, the gulf between the inner self and the outer world. According to Staiger, Schiller's attitude towards Nature oscillates between indifference, fear, hostility and morally dubious despotism, with his autocratic intellect imposing itself violently and forcibly on external reality, overwhelming it and destroying it in the process. There is, however, much biographical evidence to suggest that this image of Schiller as hostile towards Nature has been exaggerated. It is worth noting, firstly, that Schiller was not surrounded by artist-aesthetes divorced from Nature. His mother, father and wife all encouraged the development of his feeling for it. Ernst Julius Saupe speaks of his mother's enthusiastic love of Nature and the care which she took to ensure that her son appreciated its beauties, with the result that before long the countryside round Lorch had become his favourite abode: 'Oft wünschte er in der lieblichen Gegend von Lorch der Sonne lautsingend eine gute Nacht; oder er forderte wohl gar Stuttgarts Maler mit kindlichem Pathos heraus, die wunderbare Bildung und herrliche Farbenmischung der Wolken wiederzugeben.'9 From 1775 Schiller's father was in charge of the garden at Solitude, devoting himself to arboriculture and to twenty years' active service as a gardener. Schiller's wife Charlotte was an enthusiastic Naturelover and Schiller declared in a letter to Körner of 16 May 1790 that at her side, he immersed himself in Nature: 'Jezt erst genieße ich die schöne Natur ganz und mich in ihr' (Jonas,III,79). In a letter to Reinwald of 27 March 1783 Schiller looks forward with longing to the return of spring, 'die herrliche Zeiten, worinn die Schwalben auf unsem Himmel, und Empfindungen in unsre Brust zurükkommen' (XXIII,76). He was not a writer who lived in a hermeti-cally sealed world, unconscious of the changing seasons and moods of Nature, as is shown in a letter to Goethe of 27 February 1795 where he comments on how his creativity improved in spring or when the sun was shining: Mich hat diese Ankündigung des Frühlings recht erquickt, und über mein Geschäft, das deßen sehr bedurfte, ein neues Leben ausgegoßen. Wie sind wir doch mit aller unsrer geprahlten Selbstständigkeit an die Kräfte der Natur angebunden, und was ist unser Wille, wenn die Natur versagt! Worüber ich schon 5 Wochen fruchtlos brütete, das hat ein milder Sonnenblick binnen 3 Tagen in mir geldfit; freilich mag meine bisherige Beharrlichkeit diese Entwicklung vorbereitet haben, aber die Entwicklung selbst brachte mir doch die erwärmende Sonne mit. (XXVII,151-52)

Schiller und sein väterliches Haus (Leipzig, 1851), p.77.



Schiller cannot therefore simply be dismissed as an inward-looking artistaesthete of the type so often depicted by Thomas Mann. He thus forms a complete contrast to Adalbert, of whom Tonio Kroger speaks to Lisaweta, the artist who can neither think nor write in spring, and who spends this detested season in the neutral realm of the café, the atmosphere of which is unaffected by changes in the natural environment. Schiller enjoyed being in the countryside, as his accounts of his experiences at Gohlis, Loschwitz and Rudolstadt show. A letter to Huber of 13 September 1785 demonstrates the sensitivity of his feeling for Nature and his keen sense of place. Describing his journey to Dresden and Loschwitz, he regrets that night fell just as he was entering the more attractive countryside, declaring that he greeted landmarks of the journey 'mit dem andächtigen Schauer eines Wallfahrers' and that he exclaimed out loud when he caught sight of the River Elbe with its surrounding 'romantische Natur' (Jonas,1,263). An eyewitness reports that when Schiller stayed in Gohlis, near Leipzig, he was accustomed to rise at three or four o'clock in the morning so that he could go for long walks, wandering for hours across the fields.10 Schiller's love for the idyllic landscape round Rudolstadt, where he stayed on several occasions, was no mere superficial or transitory emotion, for even when he was elsewhere he longed to be back in its rural beauty. In a letter to Charlotte von Lengefeld of 16-20 March 1788 he writes: 'Sie können Sich nicht herzlicher nach Ihren Bäumen und schönen Bergen sehnen, mein gnädiges Fräulein, als ich - und vollends nach denen in Rudelstadt, wohin ich mich jezt in meinen glücklichsten Augenblicken im Traum versetze' (XXV,27). Moreover, Schiller's interest in Nature was not just confined to his early years. Caroline von Wolzogen reports that towards the end of his life he longed to travel to the sea and to Switzerland to see the mountains. 11 Even in his last moments Schiller remembered Nature. Caroline describes how, on the evening of 8 May 1805, the dying Schiller asked her to open the curtains, as he wanted to see the sun: 'Mit heiterem Blick schaute er in den schönen Abendstrahl, und die Natur empfing seinen Scheidegruß' (p.322). In the light of this evidence, it is my objective to re-evaluate both the traditional image of Schiller as hostile towards Nature and the commonly 10 11

Quoted in Otto Carl Alfred Moschkau, Schiller in Gohlis (Leipzig, 1877), p.57. Schillers Leben, Verfaßt aus Erinnerungen der Familie seinen eigenen Briefen und den Nachrichten seines Freundes Kömer (Stuttgart und Tübingen, 1851), pp.318-19. Further references to this edition are given after quotations in the text.



held view that his attempts at depiction of landscape are embarrassing intrusions in his work. I aim to demonstrate that far from ignoring his natural environment, Schiller was in fact in the forefront of thought on landscape in his time, showing great interest in all the landscape forms which were popular in the late eighteenth century. Where I introduce comparisons with Goethe, they will be used in a positive manner to highlight the uniqueness of Schiller's approach, and not to denigrate him as indifferent and even as hostile towards Nature, as has previously been the widespread practice. Von Humboldt's perspicacious comment in a letter to Schiller of 18 June 1797 on the occasion of his move from his study into his 'Gartenhaus' at Jena suggests that although he may have had less contact with the natural environment than Goethe, this was more than compensated for by the power of his creative imagination and the unique intensity of his perception of the external world: Der Unterschied, Sich aus Ihrem engen Zimmer auf einmal in eine große und schöne Natur versetzt zu sehen, muß für Sie bei weitem größer seyn, als wenn wir z.B. von Land in Land wandern, und bis auf das Kleine verändern. Bei der Stärke, mit der Sie in Sich alles fruchtbar machen, was von außen auf Sie einwirkt, muß man die Größe fremder Einwirkungen auf Sie nach einem andern Maaßstab, als bei andern Menschen berechnen. (XXXVD,i,40)

Chapter One: A Revolution in Taste Before turning to Schiller's works, I wish to consider the revolution in attitudes towards Nature which occurred in the eighteenth century, for it is in the context of this radical change in taste that I shall be examining them. Schiller's lifetime (1759-1805) coincided with the development of what has been termed the modern pre-Romantic feeling for Nature. Paul van Tieghem, tracing the origins and development of this new sensitivity towards Nature in the eighteenth century, speaks of the 'enthousiasmes préromantiques' for landscape forms such as English gardens, exotic landscapes and sublime mountain landscapes which came into vogue in the post-Rousseauian era.1 In this chapter, I shall examine these landscape forms with particular reference to their specifically Romantic features and to the manner in which they were regularly portrayed in literary works by Schiller's contemporaries. In later chapters, I shall assess the extent of Schiller's adherence to the conventional literary representation of these landscape forms.

I. The Origins of the New Feeling for Nature: Jean-Jacques Rousseau Rousseau played a pivotal rôle in bringing about the new pre-Romantic sensitivity towards landscape. In his widely read novel of 1761, La Nouvelle Héloïse, Julie and Saint-Preux frequent the Arcadian setting of Clarens and Meillerie in the mountains above Lake Geneva. It is only in Le Sentiment de la Nature dans le Préromantisme Européen (Paris, I960), p.98. Other histories of attitudes towards Nature which discuss this phenomenon include Alfred Biese, Die Entwicklung des Naturgejühls im Mittelalter und in der Neuzeit (Leipzig, 1888); Willi Flemming, Der Wandel des deutschen Naturgefiihls vom IS. zum 18. Jahrhundert, DVLG Buchreihe, 18 (Halle/Saale, 1931); Ludwig Friedländer, Über die Entstehung und Entwicklung des Gefiihls filr das Romantische in der Natur (Leipzig, 1873) and Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl, 'Das landschaftliche Auge', in Culturstudien aus drei Jahrhunderten, von W. H. Riehl, zweiter Abdnick (Stuttgart, 1859), pp.57-79.


A Revolution in Taste

this natural setting that they are equals, for in society they are separated by conventional decorum and by their different social class, with Julie's father refusing to consent to the union of his daughter with a man of inferior standing. Julie and the idealised community of Clarens pursue naturalness and eschew culture, and there is no doubt that Rousseau's sympathies lie entirely with this rural existence, for it is depicted as being synonymous with virtuous living, morality, sincerity, justice, liberty and equality, while culture, in the form of contemporary society, is seen as having only a baleful and destructive influence on Man, perverting his natural goodness and restricting his emotional development. It is social prejudice, tyrannical convention and the arbitrary judgments of public opinion which force Julie to renounce Saint-Preux and to marry a man of her own social standing. Rousseau's depiction of a mountain wilderness as a retreat for sensitive and virtuous souls, his message that Man should return to Nature and his denunciation of modern civilisation in the Discours sur l'Inégalité led to a sentimental cult of Nature, with Rousseau enthusiasts making pilgrimages to Switzerland to see the setting of La Nouvelle Héloïse at first hand. Among these was Goethe, who, in a letter to Frau von Stein, reported that he had wept when he saw the haunts which Julie and Saint-Preux frequented.2 When Caroline von Wolzogen expresses her sorrow at leaving Switzerland, she specifically mentions the setting of La Nouvelle Héloïse: 'Von den reizenden Ufern des Genfer Sees und dem freundlichen Vevay am Fuß der Alpen, das jedes jugendlich fühlende Herz im Zauberduft der Rousseauschen Dichtung erblickt, . . . hatten wir uns mit Schmerzen getrennt' (p.106). Rousseau's view of culture as a corrupting influence and as incompatible with moral integrity actually prompted him to follow the 'Back to Nature' course himself and to flee the company of other men by taking refuge in the rural isolation of the Peterinsel on the Bieler See in Switzerland. After his death this too became a place of pilgrimage for the devotees of the new feeling for Nature, who idolised Rousseau, regarding him as their spiritual father. Rousseau's championing of country life and rustic simplicity and his desire to inspire love for a simple life and for the joys of solitude and tranquillity were received enthusiastically in Germany. Johann Martin Miller's sentimental novel of 1776, Siegwart, Eine Klostergeschichte, may be taken as an example which shows how uncritically Rousseauian ideas were adopted in Germany. As was the case in La Nouvelle Héloïse, social See Goethes Werke, herausgegeben im Auftrage der Großherzogin Sophie von Sachsen, 142 vols (Weimar, 1887-1912), IV, part 4 (1889), 93.

The Origins of the New Feeling for Nature: Jean-Jacques Rousseau


division stands in the way of natural feeling, with Siegwart's love for Mariane being brought to an abrupt conclusion by the intervention of society. Like Rousseau, Miller's sympathies clearly lie with 'natural' characters, since he presents 'artificial' characters in an unfavourable light. This is particularly obvious when Kronhelm, Siegwart and Therese pay a visit to the bailiffs wife. The artificiality of her daughters' dress, their wigs and make-up, and her affected behaviour and love of town life are reflected in her attitude towards her garden, for she dislikes natural gardens, preferring regimented rows of hedges and topiary work. 3 Kronhelm's brother, who is depicted as flighty and superficial, receives Miller's ultimate condemnation, for he reads 'die witzigen Franzosen, und besonders Voltairs Schriften' (S,II,234). In the polarised scheme of the novel, the fact that his main ambition is to visit Paris, and that he loves life at the court, mark him as an unvirtuous character, who is completely insensitive and unable to shed tears. In contrast with the bailiffs wife's unnatural and restrictive clothing of a hoop skirt, Therese is often dressed as an Arcadian shepherdess, while Kronhelm's mother's clothing also distinguishes her as a 'natural' character: 'Sie folgte immer der Natur; ihre Kleidung zeugte von der größten Einfalt; sie ging nie prächtig, aber immer reinlich und zierlich' (S,1,154). Similarly, the emotional characters love sentimental communion with Nature. Siegwart constantly indulges in 'Naturschwärmerei', watching the sunrise with rapture and contemplating the stars and moon with feelings of melancholy. The impact on him of a walk through the forest gives some measure of the sentimentality of his feeling for Nature: 'Seine Seele war jetzt weich wie Wachs; unwillkührliche Thränen, die das Mittel zwischen Wehmuth und Freude hielten, glänzten ihm im Auge' (S,I,18). As in Rousseau's novel, the characters of feeling who live close to Nature and have eschewed the artificiality and formality of culture are depicted as virtuous, moral, philanthropic and sensitive. Just as Julie founds a rural retreat for sensitive souls in La Nouvelle Helol'se, so Kronhelm, Therese and Siegwart plan to form a colony of 'redliche Leute' in a forest in order to escape from the evil influence of culture (S,I, 234-36). In Siegwart, therefore, Miller uncritically adopts the Rousseauian

Siegwarf, Eine Klostergeschichte, herausgegeben von Otto von Friedheim, 3 vols (Stuttgart, 1844), II, 8. Further references to this edition, hereafter referred to as S, are given after quotations in the text.


A Revolution in Taste

argument that a return to Nature is the solution for all of contemporary Man's ills.

II. The English Garden In La Nouvelle Heloise, Julie's garden, which she calls her 'lilysde', is a source of repose and refreshment, and like the surrounding natural landscape, represents an antidote to the excessive formality and strict conventions of society. It is a sanctuary, a veritable Garden of Eden, from which all traces of the outer world have been banished, and its naturalness reflects Julie's simple way of life and her rejection of the rules governing behaviour in society. Similarly, in Siegwart, the secret rendezvous of Siegwart and Mariane take place in Mariane's natural garden with its groves of honeysuckle and free-growing oak trees. The lovers view this garden as Arcadia, a refuge from affected behaviour and a setting in which they can regain the perfect state of happiness which Man in his infancy possessed in the mythical Golden Age. It was this desire for a return to the simplicity of Nature and an Arcadian existence which led to the creation of the English garden. Along with Rousseau's ideas, this revolution in garden design played a fundamental role in the development of the new preRomantic feeling for Nature. Before the eighteenth century the norm in garden design was the French garden, exemplified by the garden at Versailles with its decorative fountains, its elaborate parterres and topiary work. The French garden, with its rigid and highly artificial structure and its geometric formalism, was the favoured landscape form of the despotic monarchs of preRevolutionary France. In contrast, the advent of the English garden with its free form was associated with a demand for political freedom. The standard of what was regarded as beautiful and as conforming to good taste shifted imperceptibly from the ornamental bush trimmed to resemble a geometric form to the free-growing oak tree. In early eighteenth-century England, disorder, irregularity and natural growth in landscape were championed over the formalism of the French garden. Wild landscapes came to be seen as aesthetically and emotionally more pleasing than the geometric garden. In Shaftesbury's The Moralists, Theocles finds no pleasure in a landscape enslaved by Art: "The Wildness pleases. We seem to live alone with Nature. We view her in her inmost Recesses, and contemplate her with more Delight in these original Wilds,

The English Garden


than in the artificial Labyrinths and feign'd Wildernesses of the Palace.' 4 This appreciation and enjoyment of natural wildernesses, where there was no interference from Man, was a precondition for the development of the English garden. In this garden, elements from natural landscapes were recreated artificially by the garden designer, but in contrast with the French garden, where Man's intervention was clearly visible, the presence of Art in the new garden form was intended to be invisible, to enhance and improve Nature rather than enslave it. Moreover, the English garden was linked with its surrounding landscape, with the open prospect being favoured over enclosure and containment. Alexander Pope, like many of his contemporaries, championed the extended prospect and naturalness of the English garden over the restricted views and formal symmetry of the French, as his criticism of the regular garden at the Villa of Timon shows: On ev'ry side you look, behold the Wall! . . . Grove nods at Grove, each Ally has a Brother, And half the Platform just reflects the other. The sufT ring Eye inverted Nature sees, Trees cut to Statues, Statues thick as Trees.^

The practice of blocking the prospect with hedges and walls was also attacked by Stephen Switzer, who declared that 'where-ever Liberty will allow, I would throw my Garden open to all View, to the unbounded Felicities of distant Prospect, and the expansive Volumes of Nature herself. 6 The English garden made an important contribution to changing fashions in taste since it contained many Romantic elements which had no place in the French garden. No English garden was complete without its sham Gothic ruin. 7 This vogue for the Gothic was one manifestation of the spread of irrationalism in reaction against the excessive rationality of Classicism. If Classicism was an expression of Man's dominance, of his ability to understand the universe, then Gothicism was the compensatory force of mystery and Romanticism. Gothic architecture encompassed all Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, 3 vols (1711), II, 388. An Epistle to the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Burlington (London, 1731), p. lO. Ichnographia Rustica, 3 vols (London, 1718), I, xxxv-vi. For the contribution of 'Garden Gothic' to the Gothic revival see W. D. Robson-Scott, The Literary Background of the Gothic Revival in Germany: A Chapter in the History of Taste (Oxford, 1965), pp.28-34 and A. O. Lovejoy, 'The First Gothic Revival and the Return to Nature', in Lovejoy, Essays in the History of Ideas (Baltimore, 1948), pp. 136-65.


A Revolution in Taste

that was unclassical, being clumsy, irregular, asymmetrical, elaborate and eccentric. Because of its irregularity, the sham Gothic ruin was adopted enthusiastically by English garden designers, for as theorists such as Shaftesbury and Pope had stated, the ideal landscape garden should display beauty without order. English gardens did not, however, just contain Gothic ruins. To heighten the Romantic atmosphere there was a desire to mix as many architectural styles as possible, with the result that models of a mosque, a Greek temple, a Chinese bridge and a South Sea Islander's hut might be juxtaposed. Homogeneity and formal design were rejected in favour of variety, contrast, novelty, spontaneity and originality, the qualities of incipient Romanticism.8 If the French garden appealed to reason, then the English garden sought emotional effect. Sir William Chambers argued that the main function of the Chinese garden, which he recommended as a model for the English garden, was the arousal of various contrasting emotional states in the onlooker. Chambers described three different scenes in a Chinese garden, the 'pleasing', the 'terrible' and the 'surprising' or 'romantic', all of which were calculated to create a different emotional impact through the exaggeration of particular emotive qualities in Nature beyond the purely realistic.9 Similarly, in the English garden, great emphasis was placed on the arousal of emotion. Sham Gothic ruins constructed in a gloomy part of the garden were intended to arouse a sensation of melancholy, which in turn would give rise to a train of associated emotions, such as a sudden realisation of the transience of human life and endeavour, while a temple, placed in a sunlit area of the garden, would give a happy or joyful impression. The importance which the English garden movement attached to the link between aesthetic perception and emotion was significant, because it represented a milestone in the revolution of taste, where emotion was substituted for reason, passion for decorum and Romanticism for Classicism. Enthusiasm for the English garden soon spread beyond the bounds of its native soil to continental Europe. Not surprisingly, it was a friend of Rousseau, the Marquis de Girardin, who, between 1766 and 1776, laid out For a full account of the rôle of the English garden in the advent of Romanticism see Raymond Immerwahr, 'The Ascending Romantic View in the Eighteenth Century', PEGS, NS, 36 (1966), 1-33 and 'The First Romantic Aesthetics', MLQ, 21 (I960), 326. See also Lovejoy, 'The Chinese Origin of a Romanticism', in Lovejoy, Essays in the History of Ideas, pp.99-135. A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening (London, 1772), pp.35-41.

The English Garden


Ermenonville, the first English garden in France. Rousseau spent the final period of his life there and was buried on a specially created island covered with poplars in the garden, which promptly became the sentimental Mecca of all Rousseau disciples. The enthusiasm for Rousseau was without doubt also responsible for the introduction of the English garden to Germany in the early 1770s, although, as Horace Walpole conjectured, the taste of the Princes in Germany greatly favoured its dissemination. Pondering on whether the English garden would spread to the continent, Walpole concluded: 'I should think the little princes of Germany, who spare no profusion on their palaces and country-houses, most likely to be our imitators; especially as their country and climate bear in many parts resemblance to ours.' 10 It was, however, Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld, who, with his monumental five-volume Theorie der Gartenkunst, written between 1779 and 1785, ensured that enthusiasm for the new style became so allembracing in Germany. Like the English theorists, Hirschfeld speaks with contempt of regular gardens, which he dismisses as 'Kunsteleyen', the product of the love of the French for 'Tandeley' and 'Schimmer' (Th,I, 35-36). He praises, by contrast, the emotional basis of the English garden, arguing that a garden is meant not just to please the eye, but also to excite the imagination with sensations of grandeur, melancholy, gaiety and sublimity (Th,1,155). Reminiscent of Chambers, Hirschfeld postulates four different types of scenes in a garden, 'lachend', 'sanftmelancholisch', 'romantisch' and 'feyerlich', each of which would arouse a different emotional state in the onlooker (Th,I,209-27). There are in fact many parallels between Hirschfeld's ideas and those of English theorists, and he repeatedly acknowledges this debt to pre-Romantic English thought in his work. 11 In the wake of this revolt against the French garden and the neoclassical aesthetic with which it was associated, gardens in the English style began to appear all over Germany. Worlitz park, created by the Anglophile Prince Franz von Anhalt-Dessau in 1768, contained a replica of the poplar island and Rousseau's tomb at Ermenonville, a plethora of Gothic buildings, the model of a volcano, artefacts from the South Sea


Essay on Modern Gardening (Strawberry Hill, 1785), p.89. ' 1 For a full examination of these parallels see Wolfgang Schepers, Hirschfelds der Gartenkunst 1779-1785 (Worms, 1980).



A Revolution in Taste

Islands and scenes calculated to arouse terror, melancholy and joy. 1 2 The English garden at Schwetzingen contained buildings of every conceivable architectural style, including a Chinese pavilion, a Turkish mosque, Greek temples and Gothic ruins. The park at Weimar, which was transformed into an English garden by Goethe in the late 1770s, contained Romantic and sentimental adornments such as a hermitage, named the 'Luisenkloster', a grotto and a memorial to a young girl who had drowned herself in the River Ilm. All these parks afforded opportunities for some indulgence in sentimental 'Schwärmerei'. It was, however, in the Seifersdorfer Tal garden, created by the Rousseau enthusiast Tina von Brühl, that the cult of sentimentality was followed most enthusiastically. It was crowded with temples and memorials dedicated to heroes and heroines of sentimental literature and inscriptions celebrating friendship, love, philanthropy, selfsacrifice and rural life. Among the figures celebrated in the garden were Hermann, Petrarch and Laura, Lorenzo from Sterne's Sentimental Journey, the shepherdess Adelaide from a sentimental play by Jean François Marmontel, Hirschfeld, Edward Young, Werther and Prince Leopold von Braunschweig, who died while attempting to save people from drowning.13 The embellishments in the garden were intended to encourage a wallowing in sentiment, and it is this reaction which Elisa von der Recke, a friend of Tina von Brühl, describes after a visit to the garden: 'Lange hat mein Herz sich nicht in dieser sittlich-wollüstigen Stimmung befunden.' 14 In Germany, as in England, the French garden and a rational attitude to Nature were thus replaced by the English garden and a belief that landscape had emotional value. The Rousseauian enthusiasm for a 'Return to Nature' led to a desire for simplicity and a revolt against the French garden, but ironically, in its most sentimental and exaggerated form, the English garden became as unnatural, contrived and ornate as its despised predecessor. As Derek Clifford rightly points out, the new style in gardening carried the roots of its own destruction in its excesses: 'The poetic garden suffered in the long run, as all romanticism eventually


13 14

See August Rode, Beschreibung des Fürstlichen Anhalt-Dessauischen Landhauses und Englischen Gartens zu Wöriitz (Dessau, 1788). See Wilhelm Gottlieb Becker, Das Seifersdorfer Thal (Leipzig und Dresden, 1792). Quoted from Paul Oitwin Rave, Gärten der Goethezeit: Vom Leben in Kunst und Natur (Leipzig, 1941), p.73.



suffers, from its lack of discipline.'15 In Germany, the sentimental garden was in ascendancy between 1770 and 1800, but after the turn of the century interest in the products of the new gardening style dwindled as they became increasingly exaggerated and unnatural. The early Romantics criticised the excesses of the English garden, preferring the formal French garden or natural landscapes which had not been improved,16 and consequently very few gardens in the English style were laid out in Germany after 1800.

III. Exoticism In the late eighteenth century it was common practice to introduce elements from exotic faraway lands into the English garden, and the gardening manuals which fuelled the craze for English gardens often carried suggestions and illustrations for exotic garden architecture. Johann Gottfried Grohmann, for example* offers designs for Chinese bridges, pavilions and gondolas, for Moorish temples and even for an aviary in the form of a small Turkish mosque, a dovecote in the Chinese style and an Egyptian tomb complete with mummy.17 However, it was to the newly discovered South Sea Islands that gardeners increasingly turned for ideas for ever more unusual, inventive and emotive garden decoration. As was the case with the new feeling for Nature in general and the English garden in particular, the lead was once again given by Rousseau. In La Nouvelle Heloi'se, Saint-Preux, on being led into Julie's garden at Clarens, compares it to two exotic islands discovered on eighteenthcentury voyages of discovery: 'O Tinian! o Juan Fernandez! Julie, le bout du monde est ä votre porte!' 18 Further evidence for the link between exoticism and the English garden is provided in Tieck's Phantasus, for 15

A History of Garden Design (London, 1962), p.153. See August Wilhelm Schlegel's comments at the end of his translation of Walpole's Essay on Modem Gardening in Historische, litterarische und unterhaltende Schriften von Horatio Walpole, übersetzt von A. W. Schlegel (Leipzig, 1800), pp.443-46 and the criticism of the English garden in Ludwig Tieck's Phantasus, Ludwig Tieck's Schriften, 28 vols (Berlin, 1828-54), IV (1828), 57-58 and 77-87. 17 Ideenmagazin für Liebhaber von Gärten, englischen Anlagen und fiir Besitzer von Landgütern, unter der Aufsicht von J. G. Grohmann herausgegeben (Leipzig, 17961811). 18 Quoted from M. B. Ellis, Julie or La Nouvelle Heloi'se: A Synthesis of Rousseau's Thought (1749-1759) (Toronto, 1949), pp.92-93. 16


A Revolution in Taste

when Wilibald criticises the more extravagant aspects of the English garden, he refers specifically to the exotic adornments of the 'alberne Moschee, oder otahitische Hutte'. 19 In Dorothea Schlegel's novel Florentin, the Oberstwachtmeister, trying to emulate the improvements carried out by his neighbour, boasts of his Tahitian pavilion, his Ermenonville and his Chinese bridges. He also hopes to construct some Egyptian pyramids in his garden, working from sketches which his nephew had drawn during a recent voyage round the world. 20 The discovery of remote islands by intrepid explorers such as James Cook, George Anson and Georg Forster was of great topical interest in the late eighteenth century and clearly fuelled the enthusiasm for exotic lands, as did the many accounts of voyages round the world. Moreover, in Schiller's lifetime, distant and far-flung areas of the world were still shrouded in an aura of mystery, for this was an age before worldwide communications and industrialisation destroyed the Romantic atmosphere surrounding the eighteenth-century voyages of discovery. In his Reise um die Welt of 1836, Adelbert von Chamisso bemoans the fact that tourist trips had been introduced following in James Cook's tracks, seeing them as an example of the commercialisation, trivialisation and démystification of Cook's discovery of the South Sea Islands.21 In Schiller's time, however, exoticism was associated not with commercialisation, but with the new, pre-Romantic feeling for Nature. In Germany, the conventional interpretation of exotic lands was to view them in terms of the myths of the Golden Age and of the Garden of Eden. 22 The inhabitants of those lands were regarded as noble savages who were unsullied by the artificiality and depravity of culture and who led happy and simple lives, with a bountiful and abundant Nature and favourable climate providing them with ample food, so that they had no need to work or to cultivate the land. In the 1770s, several members of the Gôttinger Hainbund, including Gerstenberg, Overbeck and Vofi, planned to leave Europe and set up a colony on Tahiti, where, Overbeck claimed in a letter to VoB of 17 November 1777, their descendants were promised


90 21


Schriften, IV, 85. Florentin, Ein Roman, herausgegeben von Friedrich Schlegel (Lübeck und Leipzig, 1801), pp.265-66. Reise um die Welt, herausgegeben von Rudolf Mingau (Berlin, 1985), pp.8-9. For this aspect of exoticism see M. Kay Flavell, "Arkadisch frei sei unser Glück." The Myth of the Golden Age in Eighteenth-Century Germany', PEGS, NS, 43 (1973), 1-27.



'der Vorrang in der Glückseligkeit auf eine ganze Ewigkeit'. 23 In his poem Tayti oder die glückliche Insel, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachariae combines a eulogy of the natural beauty of Tahiti and the idyllic existence of its inhabitants with a condemnation of European society. He longs to flee from Europe and begin a new life in the South Seas: O Muße, reiße mich aus dem Tumult Der Laster dieser Europäerwelt, Wo Krieg, und Hunger, und Verfolgungsgeist, Sich unaufhörlich peitschen! Laß uns fliehn Zu stillen Fluren in des Eilands Schooß, Wo Liebe, Ruh, und Fried' und Unschuld herrscht! 2 ^

The vogue for copying South Sea Islanders' huts in English gardens, or 'Hüttenromantik' as Winfried Volk terms it, 25 is clearly a symptom of this desire to heed Rousseau's call for the abandonment of culture and for a return to the state of Nature and paradisiacal innocence. Georg Forster's enthusiastic descriptions of the Tahitian landscape as a paradise in his account of his journey round the world with James Cook did much to encourage this conventional view of the South Sea Islands. As he approaches Tahiti, Forster describes it as the 'Königinn der tropischen Inseln', and greets it with rapturous 'Südseeschwärmerei': Welch Entzücken gewährte mir da die herrliche Aussicht! Es war, als hätte ich die reizende Gegend, die vor mir lag, noch nie gesehen; doch war sie jetzt auch in der That weit schöner, als vor acht Monathen, da ich sie zu einer ganz andern Jahreszeit gesehen hatte. Die Wälder auf den Bergen waren mit frischem Grün bekleidet, das in mannigfaltigen Falben durcheinander spielte; die kleinen Hügel, hie und da, grünten ebenfalls im neuen Frühlingskleide, und verschönerten an manchen Orten, die reizende Aussicht. Besonders aber prangten die Ebnen mit allem Schmuck der jungen Wiesen. Kurz, alles erinnerte mich an die Beschreibungen von Calypso's bezauberter Insel.Oft

Förster contrasts the immorality of the Europeans with the innocence of the natives, hoping that the latter will not be harmed by contact with


Quoted from Wilhelm Herbst, Johann Heinrich Voss, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1872-76), I,



Quoted from Horst Brunner, Die poetische Insel: Inseln und Inselvorstellungen in der deutschen Literatur, Germanistische Abhandlungen, 21 (Stuttgart, 1967), p.123. Die Entdeckung Tahitis und das Wunschbild der seligen Insel in der deutschen Literatur (Diss. Heidelberg, 1934), p.96. Georg Forster, Werke in vier Bänden, herausgegeben von Gerhard Steiner (Frankfurt am Main, 1967-70), I, Reise um die Welt, 548.


A Revolution in Taste

Europeans on voyages of discovery.27 He praises the island for its fertile soil and good climate, declaring that the inhabitants are the happiest people in the world, for they have no experience of the deprivation and sorrow suffered by the inhabitants of civilised lands.28 It is therefore not surprising that in the wake of his report, Germany was gripped by Tahitifever. 29 As well as playing a dominant rôle in the narrative genre of the travel report, the exotic plays a large part in contemporary drama. In August von Kotzebue's plays, the conventional view that exotic islands represent an earthly paradise is frequently articulated. In the comedy Bruder Moritz, der Sonderling oder die Colonie für die Pelew-Inseln, Moritz, inspired by a description of the Pelew Islands, suggests to his family and friends that they should flee from Europe, which he describes as a 'cultivirtes Unwesen', and take refuge on those islands, where only 'gute, unverdorbene Geschöpfe' live, unspoiled by the artificiality of culture. 30 At the end of the play they all set sail for the islands, with Moritz looking forward to eternal happiness: 'O wie glücklich werden wir! o wie glücklich werden unsre Kinder seyn!' 31 Similarly, in La Peyrouse, life on an island in the South Seas is idealised in the conventional manner. The native woman Malvina and her son Carl are 'noble savages', humane and generous to strangers. The landscape of coconut and pisang trees provides food in abundance, clothes are made out of animal skins and dwellings are decorated with shells from the seashore. Clairville, a European who has decided to found a colony on this exotic island praises its bountiful landscape, evoking the image of an earthly paradise: 'Schau um dich! ist dieses Eyland ein Kerker? - Hier winkt dir eine Blüte, und dort eine Frucht. Hier wächst der Brodbaum für den Hunger, hier sprudeln Quellen fur den Durst. Hier grünt ein Hayn für die Liebe. ' 3 2 In contrast, European culture is depicted as being corrupt, immoral, degenerate and anarchical.

27 28

30 31


Forster, pp.207-08, p.281 and p.332. Ibid., p.329 and p.562. For an account of Forster's contribution to the development of an idealised image of Tahiti in Germany see Brunner, pp.120-22 and Thomas Lange, Idyllische und exotische Sehnsucht: Formen bürgerlicher Nostalgie in der deutschen Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts (Kronberg, 1976), pp.212-13. Schauspiele von August von Kotzebue, 6 vols (Leipzig, 1797), III, 180-81. Ibid., p.183. La Peyrouse, Ein Schauspiel in zwey Akten, Neueste deutsche Schaubühne, 1 (Augsburg, 1804), pp.55-56.

The Sublime


Similarly, in Tieck's play Alla-Moddin of 1790-91, European culture is contrasted unfavourably with the existence of the natives of a mythical exotic setting: the Suhlu islands. Alla-Moddin and his family, imprisoned by the Spaniards, betray a sensitive feeling for Nature, remembering the exotic landscape of their island with longing, and spending much of their time in prison bewailing the loss of this beautiful landscape. This sensitivity towards Nature is combined with a strong sense of morality and the virtues of honesty and generosity, all of which are shown to be lacking in the Europeans. The play ends predictably, with the Frenchman Valmont bemoaning the lack of freedom in his native land and deciding to leave Europe permanently and return with the liberated Alla-Moddin to Suhlu. Addressing Alla-Moddin, Valmont expresses what had become the conventional attitude towards exotic landscapes: 'Dort [=in Suhlu] will ich an dem Busen der gütigen Natur leben, und wieder zum Kinde werden, ich will mit Euch pflanzen und säen. ' 3 3 The belief that the unspoiled children of Nature possessed greater moral sense and a more gentle spirit than their European counterparts was thus widespread in eighteenth-century Germany. In literature treating of the exotic, the immoral excesses of European culture are stressed, while exotic lands are presented as the Garden of Eden before the Fall. For these reasons, it was widely believed that if Europeans returned to these paradisiacal lands, they would be cleansed and purified of all sin and would themselves become innocent and happy 'noble savages'.

IV. The Sublime In Les Confessions, Rousseau describes what he considers to be a beautiful landscape: Au reste, on sait déjà ce que j'entends par un beau pays. Jamais pays de plaine, quelque beau qu'il fût, ne parut tel & mes yeux. Il me faut des torrents, des rochers, des sapins, des bois noirs, des chemins raboteux à monter et à descendre, des précipices à mes côtés qui me fassent bien peur. J'eus ce plaisir, et je le goûtai dans tout son charme en approchant de Chambéry. 34

The awe mingled with delight and aesthetic gratification which Rousseau experiences at the sight of an untamed mountain wilderness is a response 33 34

Schriften, XI (1829), 367. Les Confessions, edited by Ernest Seillifcre, 3 vols (Paris, 1929), I, 233.


A Revolution in Taste

peculiar to the eighteenth century and is an important element in the preRomantic feeling for Nature. The use of the term 'sublime' to describe objects and forces in Nature is an eighteenth-century phenomenon. Prior to this century 'sublime' had always been used in the rhetorical context. In Dionysius Cassius Longinus' treatise on the sublime, the Peri hupsous, the term was used in connection with the exaltation induced by memorable passages of literature, and until the late seventeenth century, 'sublime' was always reserved for the praise of great art in the Longinian tradition. In the eighteenth century, however, the term became associated with the appreciation of the sensational appearances of Nature. Nature's superlative grandeur, the rising and setting sun, the celestial phenomena, the oceans, mountains, precipices, caverns, cataracts, tempests and thunder became a new source of emotional experience. The pleasure felt at the contemplation of the grand and vast elements in Nature represented a new sensitivity to Nature, where the mind reached out for the infinite. This change in taste represented a complete break with the beliefs of Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Man, who shunned the great aspects of Nature. Before the eighteenth century, travellers felt only disgust and horror when they came in contact with mountains. Plains and valleys were regarded as beautiful, mountains as deformed, monstrous, ugly, inhospitable and barren. This accounts for the fact that in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance literature and art, Man was the main topic of interest and there were few extended descriptions of the wild and rugged elements in Nature. In Classical Latin literature mountains were seen as obstacles and were described with adjectives such as 'arduus', 'asperus', 'ocris' and 'horridus'. In Renaissance and neo-Classical thought, the ideal was represented by an ordered, harmonious and regular universe. A landscape was only regarded as pleasing if it was symmetrical and well-proportioned, with the result that mountains were seen as a blemish on the earth, as monstrous excrescences, disfiguring the beauty and balance of God's creation. Boileau's ideal of a beautiful landscape can be seen as representative of that of the neo-Classicists: J'aime mieux un ruisseau qui sur la molle arène Dans un pré plein de fleurs lentement se proméne,

The Sublime


Qu'un torrent débordé qui, d'un cours orageux, Roule, plein de gravier, sur un terrain fangeux.

In the eighteenth century, however, when artists and writers became obsessed with mountains, ravines and precipices, delight in the limited, regular and restrained gave way to a delight in the chaotic, asymmetrical, irregular and infinite. Joseph Addison was the first of the English theorists to attempt to explain eighteenth-century Man's zest for infinity and to define the feeling of pleasure in the contemplation of the natural sublime.36 In The Pleasures of the Imagination, Addison argues that 'the great' in Nature had more value than 'the uncommon' and 'beautiful' in Nature, because the image of God resided in the heavens and huge expanse of ocean. The delight in all that is unlimited in Nature was thus associated with the idea of an Almighty Being. Delight in the infinite in Nature was justified because God had made Man's soul delight in the apprehension of what is great or unlimited, and space became the guarantee of the existence of the divine mind and the attribute of God. 37 Addison thus concludes that the ascent of the mind to God is more likely to take place among mountains and on solitary walks than in small or confined spaces. In his Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, Edmund Burke sees terror as the source of pleasure in the sublime. Among the phenomena provoking 'delightful horror', he cites oceans, night and obscurity, dark woods, precipices, rugged and broken surfaces, infinity, the starry heavens, the noise of cataracts, storms and thunder, wild beasts, sudden variation, ugliness and angularity. Burke describes the sensation induced by the sublime in physiological terms: terror causes a violent and painful contraction of the nerves, but this pain is also a source of delight, because it is only through exercise that the muscular fibres remain vigorous and healthy.



Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, Oeuvres Complètes, edited by A. C. Gidel, Chefs d'oeuvre de la littérature française, 29-32, 4 vols (Paris, 1870-73), II, L'Art Poétique (1872), 304. For a detailed account of the origins and development of the obsession with sublime landscapes in eighteenth-century England see Samuel Holt Monk, The Sublime: A Study of Critical Theories in XVIII century England (New York, 1935) and Maijorie Hope Nicolson, Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite (Ithaca, New York, 1959). See Ernest Tuveson, 'Space, Deity, and the "Natural Sublime"', MLQ, 12 (1951), 20-38.


A Revolution in Taste

What had begun as an attempt on Addison's part to analyse the sensation of 'agreeable horror' which he had experienced while travelling through Swiss mountain scenery on his Grand Tour, became an obsession which carried all before it. People actively sought out the sublime in Nature as they became addicted to the sensation of awe mingled with delight or the 'delightful horror' and 'terrible joy' which sublime landscapes inspired in them. There was a craze for Alpine journeys, ascending mountains and glaciers, gazing down into precipices and observing tempests. If, before the eighteenth century, mountains had been abased in order to exalt valleys and plains, the revolution in taste ensured that mountains now became the focus of attention. As was the case with the English garden, the craze for the sublime in Nature gradually spread from England to the Continent. By 1730 interest in the sublime had still not become widespread in Germany: in his account of his journey through Germany, Switzerland and Italy from 1729-31, Johann Georg Keyßler finds most pleasure in landscapes which can be termed 'angenehm', such as fertile, cultivated plains, praising as he does the flat and monotonous area round Mantua much more than mountain regions.38 However, this attitude was soon to be reversed, and mountains came to be admired much more than plains or valleys. In his Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen of 1764, Kant defines the feeling of the sublime as pleasure tinged with horror arising from the sight of a mountain range with snowy peaks rising up through the clouds, ancient oak trees, the night sky with its moon and stars and the description of a raging storm. Adopting an attitude that was to become widespread, he contrasts the feeling of mixed pleasure aroused by the contemplation of sublime natural objects with the feeling of unadulterated pleasure given by the beautiful in Nature, such as meadows, valleys with streams, Elysianlike landscapes, flowerbeds, hedges and topiary work (W,1,825-29).39 The English garden, as it manifested itself in Germany, also contained scenes which were calculated to provoke the sensation of the sublime. In volumes 2 to 4 of his Theorie der Gartenkunst, Hirschfeld describes the 38 -IQ

See Friedländer, pp.13-14. For a general survey of thought on the sublime in eighteenth-century Germany see Christian Begemann, 'Erhabene Natur: Zur Übertragung des Begriffs des Erhabenen auf Gegenstände der äußeren Natur in den deutschen Kunsttheorien des 18. Jahrhunderts', DVLG, 58 (1984), 74-1 l O and Karl Vietor, 'Die Idee des Erhabenen in der deutschen Literatur', in Vietor, Geist und Form: Aufsätze zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte (Bern, 1952), pp.234-66.

The Sublime


various elements which heighten the sublime effect of a 'feyerliche Gegend' in a garden. He recommends turbulent rivers and waterfalls, views towards sea or mountains, Gothic chapels in gloomy groves and woods, ivy-covered Gothic ruins, steep precipices and monuments commemorating heroic deeds or heroes from distant times as features which would arouse feelings of amazement and fear in the onlooker. It is clear from Hirschfeld's account that Gothic ruins were felt to contribute greatly to the sublimity of a landscape. Worlitz contained a 'feyerliche Gegend' in the form of its labyrinth, the passages of which were hewn out of solid rock and were overshadowed by gloomy trees. It was so designed that anyone walking through it would experience the sensation of 'delightful horror', which would only disappear when the labyrinth gave way to a bright area of the garden termed 'Elysium'. 40 The craze for Ossian in eighteenth-century Germany was another manifestation of the love for the sublime in Nature. The Ossian poems, presented as ancient Celtic relics, were in fact composed by James Macpherson between 1760 and 1763 with a view to appealing to a sentimental age. The landscape which formed the background to the battles and heroic deeds recounted by Ossian suited the mood of the times and contributed to the widespread popularity of the poems, for it was the prototype of a sublime landscape. The Nordic Ossianic landscape is barren and forbidding, and descriptions of stormy seas and inhospitable mountains are ubiquitous. The trees are blasted by the wind and split in two by lightning, and women lament the death of warriors on clifftops and lonely seashores. In addition, the dismal moors and mountains are shrouded in mist and appear in a melancholy half-light, thus contributing to the sublime impression of the landscape. The characters lead a life of freedom in the mountains, far from civilised Man, and this, coupled with the descriptions of wild and lonely scenery, ensured that the poems enjoyed great acclaim.41 This was certainly the case in Schiller's circle, for like many of his close friends, Charlotte von Lengefeld was an enthusiast of the Ossian poems, translating The Death of Cuchullin, Darthula and Calthon and Colmal in 1788.

40 See Rode, pp. 184-87. 41 For an account of the enthusiastic reception of the Ossian poems in Germany see Rudolf Tombo, Ossian in Germany (New York, 1901).


A Revolution in Taste

Interest in sublime landscape was also fuelled by the philhelvetism which ensued in the wake of Albrecht von Haller's Die Alpen of 1729. 42 Although Haller's poem was primarily didactic rather than descriptive, a glorification of the morality and life style of the Swiss rather than a eulogy of sublime and terrifying Alpine scenery, it nevertheless initiated widespread enthusiasm for Switzerland in Germany. Descriptions of the sublime Swiss landscape proliferated: Goethe, for example, travelled to Switzerland on three separate occasions, from May to July 1775, September 1779 to January 1780 and August to November 1797, recording his experiences in the Briefe aus der Schweiz of 1779 and the Reise in die Schweiz of 1797. Like many of their contemporaries, Charlotte von Lengefeld and Caroline von Wolzogen enthused over the Swiss landscape. In Schillers Leben, Caroline describes how she and Charlotte understood Goethe's melancholy after he had returned to Germany from Italy, for they had felt the same sadness after leaving the 'größere Natur' of Switzerland in 1784 (p.130). 43 In her description of a journey through the Gotthard Pass, Friederike Brun repeatedly uses adjectives such as 'schaurig', 'grausenvoll', 'grausenerregend', 'schaudererregend', 'schauerlich', 'entsetzlich' and 'furchtbar' to describe the landscape, obviously delighting in the sensation of 'agreeable horror' which she experienced.44 In Germany, however, this love of terror was never to become as excessive and absurd as it did in late eighteenth-century England. The revolution in taste in the eighteenth century thus ensured that landscape forms which had previously been shunned as ugly and unclassical now became the focus of interest. Since the vogue for English gardens and exotic and sublime landscapes coincided with Schiller's lifetime and found expression in the literature of the period, it would be surprising if he did not respond to this change in taste, particularly in view 42



For an examination of the popularity of Alpine scenery in the eighteenth century see Jacob Frey, Die Alpen im Lichte verschiedener Zeitalter (Berlin, 1877), Richard Weiss, Die Entdeckung der Alpen: Eine Sammlung schweizerischer und deutscher Alpenliteratur bis zum Jahr 1800 (Frauenfeld und Leipzig, 1934) and Eduard Ziehen, Die deutsche Schweizerbegeisterung in den Jahren 1750-1815 (Frankfurt am Main, 1922). See also Caroline von Wolzogen, Uterarischer Nachlass, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1848), I, 62-65, for an account of the great impression which the Rheinfall at Schaffhausen made on Caroline. See Tagebuch einer Reise durch die östliche, südliche und italienische Schweiz, ausgearbeitet in den Jahren 1798 und 1799 (Kopenhagen, 1800), pp.335-59.

The Sublime


of his great interest in every aspect of contemporary society. In a letter to Schiller of 6 November 1795, von Humboldt describes him as 'der modernste aller Modernen' (XXXVI,i,6), and in the 2nd Letter of Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen, Schiller declares categorically that he would not like to live in any age other than his own: 'Ich möchte nicht gern in einem andern Jahrhundert leben, und für ein andres gearbeitet haben. Man ist eben so gut Zeitbürger, als man Staatsbürger ist' (XX, 311). As we shall see, Schiller's self-confessed 'modernity' manifests itself in his sympathetic response to this change in taste and the important role which the new feeling for Nature plays in his writings.

Chapter Two: Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature I. Über Matthissons Gedichte In September 1794, Schiller's review of Friedrich von Matthisson's poems was published in the Jenaer Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. In this review Schiller expresses his general response to the revolution in taste, and it is for this reason that I shall discuss it before any of his other works, even though it was written in the middle of his literary career. The fact that the Matthisson review is a serious statement of Schiller's position in relation to the new feeling for Nature has generally been ignored by critics, who attribute its origin merely to trivial or negative motives. Adolf Frey contends that the work is neither a review nor a judgment of Matthisson's poems, but a document recording Schiller's gratitude to Matthisson for providing him with landscape material which he was later to use in Der Spaziergang, Berglied and Wilhelm Tell.1 Hans Limbach suggests that Schiller wrote the review simply because he had been given a copy of Matthisson's poems as a present by the publisher Johann Heinrich Füßli. 2 Alois Heers believes that the review is not important in its own right and that it can only be understood if examined alongside the Bürger review of 1790, since Schiller's aim was merely to praise all the elements in Matthisson's poems which were absent in those of Bürger.3 Heinrich Döring suggests that the main purpose of Schiller's review was to praise the Classical restraint and control, strict form, and purity of verse and rhyme of Matthisson's poems, qualities which prompted the early Romantics' polemical and, in Döring's eyes, unjust-

'Schiller-Studien: Schiller und Matthisson', in Marbacher SchiUerbuch, herausgegeben vom Schwäbischen Schillerverein, vol.1 (Stuttgart und Berlin, 1905), pp.92-103. Quoted from Alois Heers, Das Leben Friedrich von Matthissons (Leipzig, 1913), pp. 56-57. Ibid., pp.56-57.

Über Matthissons Gedichte


ified attack on his lyric poetry.4 For Gert Sautermeister, the review is the product of Schiller's hostility towards the excessive rationality of the study of Nature during the Enlightenment, which resulted in Nature being stripped of its pagan gods.5 In general, the important statement which Schiller wants to make about the new feeling for Nature is overlooked, as critics refuse to take the review seriously. For confirmation of this, one only needs to examine the Schiller monographs by Benno von Wiese and Emil Staiger. Von Wiese's cursory study of the review occupies only two pages out of a total of eight hundred and eleven, while Staiger refers to it briefly on four occasions, but only in order to dismiss it as flawed and unimportant: Schiller's justification of descriptive poetry involves pointing out elements in poetry which are not lyrical (p.96); the review is too short to be able to serve as the basis of a poetic (p. 173); and Schiller's demand that external objects should be stripped of all their subjective and arbitrary aspects and given form is merely a 'Gewaltakt' on his part, demonstrating his hostility towards Nature and his morbid fear of reality (pp. 178-79). Walter Krebs is similarly unimpressed by the review, arguing that Schiller's theory is demonstrated much more clearly in Matthisson's prose works than in his poems.6 Käte Hamburger is critical of what she sees as inconsistencies in the way Schiller uses certain key philosophical terms in the review, and concludes that he had no time for lyric poetry as a genre.7 In addition, the important issues of the review are often overlooked because it is repeatedly dismissed merely as a grossly overrated eulogy of mediocre poetry. This is the view expressed by Rahel Levin in a letter to David Veit of 15 November 1794: 'Hat er [ = Schiller] aber rezensirt? gar nicht. Er hat ein paar Gedichte angeführt, wo er den hübschen Gang derselben, als Beschreibung lebloser Gegenstände, aushebt, und den Versbau lobt; ja hören Sie, wenn das nicht drin wäre, so wären sie auch schlecht, und wie alle Frühlinge in allen Kalendern.' Veit echoes Levin's opinion in his reply of 1 December 1794: 'Mir ist es ein Räthsel, daß Schiller an Schriften von Friedrich von Matthisson, Ausgabe letzter Hand, 9 vols (Zürich, 1825-33), IX, viii-x. Idyllik und Dramatik im Werk Friedrich Schillers: Zum geschichtlichen Ort seiner klassischen Dramen, Studien zur Poetik und Geschichte der Literatur, 17 (Stuttgart, Berlin, Köln, Mainz, 1971), pp.44-46. Friedrich von Matthisson (1761-1831): Ein Beitrag zur Geistes- und Literaturgeschichte des ausgehenden 18. und beginnenden 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1912), pp.143-45. 'Schillers Lyrik-Theorie', in Kleine Schriften, von Käte Hamburger, Stuttgarter Arbeiten zur Germanistik, 25 (Stuttgart, 1976), pp.137-69 (pp.149-69).


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

einem so weichlichen Menschen, wie Matthisson, hat Geschmack finden können.' 8 This view is widespread: Alfred Biese declares that 'Schiller hebt Matthisson zu hoch', 9 and Rudolf Krauß dismisses the review as 'allzu günstig'. 10 At the other extreme, Wolfgang Preisendanz has made extravagant claims for the importance of the review, describing it as an 'epochemachender Schritt' and suggesting that it provided the main theoretical basis and justification for the Romantics' method of landscape depiction. 11 The review was published in two halves, the first in the 11 September 1794 edition of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, the second in the 12 September edition. This was not the result of chance, but because the review naturally fell into two distinct sections. In the first part, Matthisson is scarcely mentioned, for Schiller is concerned with setting out the conditions which descriptive poetry must fulfil if it is to be regarded as an ideal genre, while in the second part, he aims to demonstrate that empirical examples of the genre, in the form of Matthisson's poems, meet all these requirements. Because of the structure of the review, my discussion of it will fall into two parts. Firstly, by examining Schiller's theoretical justification of the modern genre of descriptive poetry against the background of existing thought on the subject, I shall demonstrate that he welcomed the revolution in taste and the new literary forms to which it gave rise. Secondly, I shall examine Schiller's comments on individual poems by Matthisson, analysing the critical methodology which he employs and the extent to which he gives an accurate impression of their literary worth. That Schiller was concerned with the new feeling for Nature and the serious questions to which it gave rise is clear from the very beginning of the review, where he puts forward the case of the 'Rigoristen' (XXII,265), the hard-line neo-Classicists who refuse to recognise landscape painters as true artists. He marshalls formidable objections to the Moderns' method of making landscape the dominant presence in art. Firstly, Greek artists, renowned for their appreciation of beauty, shunned landscape material 8



Quoted from Ein Jahrhundert deutscher Literaturkritik Fambach (Berlin, 1957 -), HI (1959), 587-88. Alfred Biese, p.432.


edited by Oscar

Herzog Karl Eugen von Württemberg und seine Zeit, herausgegeben vom Württembergischen Geschichts- und Altertums-Verein, 2 vols (Eßlingen, 1907, 1909), I, 474. 'Die Eizählfunktion der Naturdarstellung bei Stifter', in Landschaft und Raum in der Erzählkunst, herausgegeben von Alexander Ritter, Wege der Forschung, 418 (Darmstadt, 1975), pp.373-91 (p.378).

Ober Maahissons



because they found it incompatible with the qualities of beautiful art, so according to the revered canon of Greek Classicism, landscape painting and descriptive poetry must be dismissed as 'pleasant' rather than 'beautiful' art forms. Secondly, it is doubtful whether it is possible for the poet to treat landscape material as the character of beautiful art demands, since it lacks necessity. Necessity dictates that products of ideal art must have the same effect on all men, whereas products of pleasant art, lacking this quality, may prompt a different response in each individual. A poet can only succeed in making the imagination of all readers follow a course which it would have pursued on its own account if he strips the object which he is depicting of all its subjective and arbitrary qualities, so that only the pure object remains. However, the poet cannot achieve this in the case of landscape material, for while the intrinsic quality of Man is necessity, that of landscape is arbitrariness and contingency. Among the objections of the neo-Classicists to the depiction of landscape in literature and art, Schiller also cites the characteristics of the landscape forms which the Moderns like to depict. They favour 'unbeseelte Naturmassen' (XXII,266), sublime Ossianic landscapes which are chaotic, monolithic and inaccessible to Man. 12 In addition, the composition of these landscape masses is determined by chance and not by necessity, and their dominant characteristic of arbitrariness ensures that any work in which they constitute the main theme will be seriously flawed. Schiller also refers specifically to their formlessness: 'In demjenigen Naturbezirke, worin der Landschaft maier und Landschaftdichter sich aufhalten, verliert sich schon auf eine sehr merkliche Weise die Bestimmtheit der Mischungen und Formen' (XXII,270). This formlessness obviously contrasts with the strict form of the human body which the Ancients imitated in the plastic arts. Schiller thus concludes that the characteristics of the landscape forms so enthusiastically represented by the Modems in their paintings and poetry would appear to militate against the inclusion of these landscape genres in the realm of ideal art: 'Wenn die bisher aufgestellten Grundsätze die richtigen sind . . . so läßt sich, wie es bei dem ersten Anblicke scheint, für landschaftliche Darstellungen wenig Gutes daraus folgern, und es wird ziemlich zweifelhaft, ob die Erwerbung

For the sense of 'unbeseelte Naturmassen', see Schiller's description in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung of the landscape settings in the Ossian poems: 'Ossians Menschenwelt z.B. war dürftig und einförmig; das Leblose um ihn her war groß, kolossalisch, mächtig, drang sich also auf, und behauptete selbst über den Menschen seine Rechte' (XX, 430-31).


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

dieser weitläufigen Provinz als eine wahre Grenzerweiterung der schönen Kunst betrachtet werden kann' (XXII,270). That these objections to the depiction of landscape in paintings and poetry are not Schiller's own beliefs but those of the neo-Classicists is apparent from an examination of the views of J. J. Winckelmann and G. E. Lessing on the subject. In his Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst, Winckelmann makes a connection between the perfection of the Greek body and intellect and the beautiful environment in which the Ancient Greeks lived and contrasts this with the ugliness and imperfection of the natural environment of Northern Europe in which the unfortunate Moderns find themselves.13 He therefore regards this defective Northern landscape as unworthy of depiction in art, declaring that any works of art in which landscape was the main theme would appeal only to the senses, and not to the intellect: 'Bloß sinnliche Empfindungen aber gehen nur bis an die Haut, und wirken wenig in den Verstand. Die Betrachtung der Landschaften, der Frucht- und Blumenstücke macht uns ein Vergnügen von dieser Art: der Kenner, welcher sie sieht, hat nicht nötig mehr zu denken, als der Meister; der Liebhaber oder der Unwissende gar nicht.' 14 In Laokoon oder über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie, Lessing shares Winckelmann's view that representation of landscape in painting should be avoided. He views with disapproval the widening of the limits of painting in modern times beyond historical themes to encompass landscape depiction, arguing that the visual medium of painting was most suited to the idealised representation of the human body. In his sketches for Laokoon, he thus sees no possibility of landscape painting attaining the ideal, insisting that the ideal of beauty resides only in the strict form and permanent expression of corporeal beauty: Der Ausdruck körperlicher Schönheit ist die Bestimmung der Mahlerey. . . . Die höchste körperliche Schönheit existiret nur in dem Menschen, und auch nur in diesem vermöge des Ideals. Dieses Ideal findet bey den Thieren schon weniger, in der vegetabilischen und leblosen Natur aber gar nicht Statt. Dieses ist es, was dem Blumenund Landschaftsmaler seinen Rang anweiset. Er ahmet Schönheiten nach, die keines Ideals fähig sind; er arbeitet also bloß mit dem Auge und mit der Hand; und das Genie hat an seinem Werke wenig oder gar keinen Antheil.1^ 1 "7



Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Kleine Schriften und Briefe, Auswahl, Einführung und Anmerkungen von Wilhelm Senf? (Weimar, i960), pp.31-33 and pp.37-40. Ibid., p.99. Quoted from Lessings Laokoon, herausgegeben und erläutert von Hugo Blümner, zweite verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage (Berlin, 1880), pp.440-41.

Über Matthissons Gedichte


He also argues that landscape is not suitable subject matter for poetry, for as a non-visual medium, this can properly only describe a sequence in time and thus should not be concerned with the pictorial description of persons or things. He is therefore contemptuous of wh .i he terms the 'Schilderungssucht' 16 of modern poets, dismissing the writer of descriptive poetry as 'der poetische Stümper'. 17 Schiller is clearly aware of the neo-Classicists' polemical attacks on landscape painting and descriptive poetry, but despite these arguments against the legitimacy of landscape material, he is determined not to adopt a reactionary stance and ally himself with the 'Rigoristen'. He thrived on challenges, frequently immersing himself in areas of knowledge which colleagues dismissed as worthless. This is apparent in letters to Körner of 7 January and 6 March 1788, where he describes his recent interest in history as his defiant response to the many thinkers, including Körner, who had dismissed this field of knowledge as infertile and unproductive: Deine Geringschätzung der Geschichte kommt mir unbillig vor. Allerdings ist sie willkührlich, voll Lücken und sehr oft unfruchtbar, aber eben das willkührliche in ihr könnte einen philosophischen Geist reitzen, sie zu beherrschen; das leere und unfruchtbare einen schöpferischen Kopf herausfodern, sie zu befruchten und auf dieses Gerippe Nerven und Muskeln zu tragen (XXV,2). Ahnung großer unbebauter Felder hat für mich soviel reizendes. Mit jedem Schritte gewinne ich an Ideen, und meine Seele wird weiter mit ihrer Welt (XXV,25).

Similarly, in Über Matthissons Gedichte, Schiller delights in the challenge with which he is confronted. He may reiterate the traditionalists' objections to the depiction of landscape material in poetry, but he has no intention of wholeheartedly approving their conclusions. He wants to break new ground by developing a poetic which will replace the canon of traditional Classical aesthetics and will accommodate the modern genre of descriptive poetry, a product of the new feeling for Nature, in the category of beautiful art forms. He does not want to reject landscape art and descriptive poetry out of hand, for, are we, he asks, to dismiss the delight which we feel at the contemplation of Claude Lorrain's paintings or after reading Friedrich von Matthisson's poems as mere trivial and worthless enjoyment which does not ennoble?: Wer freilich noch ganz frisch und lebendig den Eindruck von Claude Lorrains Zauberpinsel in sich fühlt, wird sich schwer überreden lassen, daß es kein Werk der 16 17

Laokoon, edited by Dorothy Reich (Oxford University Press, 1965), p.53. Ibid., pp.170-71.


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature schönen, bloß der angenehmen Kunst sei, was ihn in diese Entzückung versetzte, und wer soeben eine Matthissonische Schilderung aus den Händen legt, wird den Zweifel, ob er auch wirklich einen Dichter gelesen habe, sehr befremdend finden. (XXü,266)

For Schiller, the intrinsic defects of landscape material, highlighted by the neo-CIassicists, do not automatically exclude it from the realm of beautiful art forms, for he argues that it is not so much the nature of the material as the manner of its treatment by the artist which is significant: 'Es ist, wie man weiß, niemals der Stoff, sondern bloß die Behandlungsweise, was den Künstler und Dichter macht; ein Hausgeräte und eine moralische Abhandlung können beide durch eine geschmackvolle Ausführung zu einem freien Kunstwerk gesteigert werden, und das Portrait eines Menschen wird in ungeschickten Händen zu einer gemeinen Manufaktur herabsinken' (XXII,266). The necessity which is lacking in the landscape forms favoured by the Moderns can thus be made good by the poet's treatment of his material. Through a 'symbolische Operation' (XXII,271),18 the poet can introduce the character of necessity into the landscape by associating it with the sphere of human nature. This is achieved, Schiller argues, by making the landscape either the vehicle for the representation of human emotions or of ideas, the product of the human intellect: 'Es gibt zweierlei Wege, auf denen die unbeseelte Natur ein Symbol der menschlichen werden kann: entweder als Darstellung von Empfindungen oder als Darstellung von Ideen' (XXII,271). When this is the case, landscape art is capable of the ideal and is a 'beautiful' art form, speaking to both the imagination and the intellect, rather than merely a 'pleasant' art form, which is pleasing to the eye, but provides no stimulus for the intellect. When Schiller argues that landscape material becomes beautiful if it is a projection of human emotions, he is thinking of general emotional states and not of an individual human being's outpourings of subjective emotions. The poet can only raise landscape material to the ideal and endow it with necessity if he eradicates his individuality and represents only universal human emotions, for subjective emotion assumes a different character in each individual and is therefore arbitrary rather than ne-

For a discussion of this concept see Klaus L. Berghahn, 'Zu Schillers Symbolbegriff, MoH, 7 0 (1978), 392-98 (pp.395-97) and Bengt Algot Serensen, 'Die zarte Differenz: Symbol und Allegorie in der ästhetischen Diskussion zwischen Schiller und Goethe', in Formen und Funktionen der Allegorie, Symposium Wolfenbüttel 1978, herausgegeben von Walter Haug, Germanistische Symposien Berichtsbände, 3 (Stuttgart, 1979), pp.632-41 (p.637).

Ober Matthissons Gedichte


cessary: 'Jeder individuelle Mensch ist gerade um soviel weniger Mensch, als er individuell ist; jede Empfindungsweise ist gerade um soviel weniger notwendig und rein menschlich, als sie einem bestimmten Subjekt eigentümlich ist' (XXII,269). 19 Similarly, when he argues that Nature and the human world can be brought together through landscape being made to represent ideas, he insists that these ideas must not be the product of chance, but must follow necessarily from the laws of the symbolising imagination. In addition, Schiller explains the concept of landscape as the representation of human emotions by making an analogy between descriptive poetry and music. Music was scarcely more favourably regarded by the traditionalists than landscape art and descriptive poetry. Kant is hostile towards music, dismissing it as having the least aesthetic value of all the beautiful arts because of its dominant appeal to the senses: 'Musik hat unter den schönen Künsten sofern den untersten (so wie unter denen, die zugleich nach ihrer Annehmlichkeit geschätzt werden, vielleicht den obersten) Platz, weil sie bloß mit Empfindungen spielt' (W,V,433). On occasions, Schiller himself articulates this distaste for music. In Über das Pathetische of 1793, he attacks modem music for its exclusive appeal to the senses, its lack of inner form or content and its consequent inability to ennoble: Auch die Musik der Neuern scheint es vorzüglich nur auf die Sinnlichkeit anzulegen, und schmeichelt dadurch dem herrschenden Geschmack, der nur angenehm gekitzelt nicht ergriffen, nicht kräftig gerührt, nicht erhoben seyn will. Alles schmelzende wird daher vorgezogen, und wenn noch so großer Lerm in einem Concertsaal ist, so wird plötzlich alles Ohr, wenn eine schmelzende Passage vorgetragen wird. Ein bis ins thierische gehender Ausdruck der Sinnlichkeit erscheint dann gewöhnlich auf allen Gesichtern, die trunkenen Augen schwimmen, der offene Mund ist ganz Begierde, ein wollüstiges Zittern ergreift den ganzen Körper, der Athem ist schnell und schwach, kurz 10 alle Symptome der Berauschung stellen sich ein. (XX,200)

This is not, however, Schiller's last word on music. As with landscape material, he is determined that the 'doubtful' art of music should not be barred from claiming the status of a beautiful art form. For him, the power of music as a beautiful art form lies in its ability to construct certain patterns of sound which correspond to the patterns of human emotions. If this occurs, the strict laws of necessity which govern human emotions are For Schiller's insistence on the depiction of general human emotions see also Über Bürgers Gedichte, XXII, 245-64 (p.260). 20 Music is also seen as problematic in the 22nd Aesthetic Letter (XX, 380-81).


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

infused into the musical notes and harmonies, with the result that they are able to participate in the aesthetic dignity of human nature. When he speaks of descriptive poetry as having a musical effect, he is thus not thinking of practical or technical considerations such as line length, rhythm, prosody or the resonance of the words used, but of the fact that the landscapes depicted express human emotions, since he postulates that poetic compositions are subject to the same laws as musical works. This distinguishes Schiller's concept of musical poetry from Wieland's, for whom technical considerations are most important, as his comments on Matthisson's poem Elysium show: 'Hätte ich einen Preis zu geben, so würde ich versucht, . . . ihn dem Elysium zu geben, einer kleinen Composition, die mir den seltenen Genuß dieser fast ununterbrochenen Melodie der Empfindung und dieses reinen Zusammenhangs der Bilder, der Sprache, des Rhythmus und des Reims, worin, deucht mich, die wahre poetische Musik besteht, gewährt hat.' 21 There is little evidence to support the widespread view that Schiller's comments on music in the review are vague, arbitrary, unsatisfactory and unimportant.22 On the contrary, his treatment of music is an important and integral part of the review, as it clearly illustrates his willingness to discuss challenging material which had been dismissed by the traditionalists and his eagerness to elevate this material to the status of an ideal art form. Schiller's method of legitimising descriptive poetry and music as beautiful art forms is, in fact, very similar to Körner's approach in his treatise Über Charakterdarstellung in der Musik, published in Schiller's journal Die Horen of 1795. At Schiller's insistence, Körner had frequently furnished his unmusical friend with ideas about music, 23 and this undoubtedly accounts for the similarity of their approach. They both refuse to condemn music in the traditional manner, and like Schiller, Körner distinguishes between music as a 'pleasant' art, appealing solely to the emotions, and music as a 'beautiful' art, when variations in its tone, modulation and rhythm express human emotions and states of the human condition experienced by all peoples in all times and all places. Like Schiller, Körner argues that musical compositions should be given inner i1

Quoted from Schriften von Friedrich von Matthisson, IX, 255. For a general study of the concept of musical poetry see Richard Emy, 'Lyrische Sprachmusikalität als 11 ästhetisches Problem der Vorromantik', JDSG, 2 (1958), 114-44. See Hamburger, 'Schillers Lyrik-Theorie', pp.163-65 and R. M. Longyear, Schiller and Music, University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic Languages and Literatures, 54 (Chapel Hill, 1966), p. 128. See for example Schiller's letter to Körner of 2 0 June 1793.

Über Matthissons Gedichte


necessity and ideal content by being associated with the dignity of human nature. 24 When Schiller takes issue with some details of Körner's argument in his commentary Zu Gottfried Körners Aufsatz über Charakterdarstellung in der Musik, he reiterates the approach which he adopted in the Matthisson review: it is not the nature of the material per se, but the manner in which it is treated by the artist which is significant; and idealising an object means stripping it of all its arbitrary qualities and giving it the character of inner necessity (XXII,293). It should, however, be stressed that despite the similar methodology and arguments employed, Schiller's Matthisson review and Körner's Über Charakterdarstellung in der Musik differ in their scope and emphasis. Schiller wants to legitimise the modern genre of descriptive poetry as a beautiful art form and turns his attention to music only in so far as poetic compositions show musical qualities, while Körner is interested only in legitimising music as an ideal art, although, as Schiller notes in his commentary, Körner's ideas on the aesthetic effects of music are so general as to be applicable to any art form (XXII,295). Schiller's debt to Körner's thought is clear in the musical theory of the review. Overall, however, it is to Kant that he is most deeply indebted for his methodology, for he legitimises the modern genre of descriptive poetry as an ideal art by arguing from first principles. Schiller is clearly taking as his model Kant's method of transcendental deduction, for in the preface to the Kritik der Urteilskraft, Kant argues that only a priori principles can establish the limitations and the capacity of human judgment. In the introduction to the critique, he stresses that empirical observations can never be legislative, for they lack general validity: 'Erfahrungsbegriffe haben also zwar ihren Boden in der Natur, als dem Inbegriffe aller Gegenstände der Sinne, aber kein Gebiet (sondern nur ihren Aufenthalt, domicilium); weil sie zwar gesetzlich erzeugt werden, aber nicht gesetzgebend sind, sondern die auf sie gegründeten Regeln empirisch, mithin zufällig, sind' (W,V,245). He also distinguishes between the judgment of an object as 'pleasant' or 'beautiful', the latter being an aesthetic judgment which is legislative and demands the agreement of all, while the former is based merely on private and subjective feelings (W,V,289-95). See Wolfgang Seifert's summary of the argument of Körner's treatise in Christian Gottfried Kömer: Ein Musikästhetiker der deutschen Klassik, Forschungsbeiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, 9 (Regensburg, i960), pp.119-20: 'Durch Charakterdarstellung erhält die Musik innere Notwendigkeit und höchste Würde, weil sie sich damit auf das Ideal des Menschen bezieht, soweit er ein freies Wesen ist.'


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

In a letter to Goethe of 7 September 1794, Schiller stresses with reference to his review the importance of legislative concepts in matters of taste: Bey der Anarchie, welche noch immer in der poetischen Critilc herrscht und bey dem gänzlichen Mangel objectiver Geschmacksgesetze befindet sich der Kunstrichter immer in großer Verlegenheit, wenn er seine Behauptung durch Gründe unterstützen will; denn kein Gesetzbuch ist da, worauf er sich berufen könnte. Will er ehrlich seyn, so muß er entweder gar schweigen, oder er muß . . . zugleich der Gesetzgeber und der Richter seyn. Ich habe in jener Recension die letzte Paithey ergriffen. (XXVII,40)

Traditional aesthetics have no place for descriptive poetiy, so that in the review Schiller seeks to establish a new poetic in which this modern genre can be accommodated. The enthusiasm with which his contemporaries contemplate landscape paintings or read descriptive poetry is for him not in itself proof that these genres are 'beautiful' rather than 'pleasant', for the enjoyment which they feel is based merely on empirical observation and is thus not valid for all times and all peoples. Like Kant, Schiller believes that the capabilities of a phenomenon can only be determined through a priori principles, and it is for this reason that he advances a series of conditions which he insists a descriptive poet must fulfil if he is to claim aesthetic value for his work. It is thus Schiller's intention to establish the pure concept of the genre of descriptive poetry so that he can demonstrate what it is capable of achieving. The emphasis is on advancing legislative principles which will provide a valid standard of taste against which the aesthetic value of all descriptive poems can be tested: 'Diese Untersuchung wird uns die Grundsätze darbieten, nach denen man den Wert dieser Gedichte zu bestimmen hat* (XXII,266). Having advanced his theoretical justification of descriptive poetry in the first part of the review, Schiller focuses his attention on actual examples of Friedrich von Matthisson's poems in the second half. Before looking at his comments on the poems in detail, it is necessary to raise the puzzling question of why Schiller chose to review the works of a rather mediocre poet. His decision to review Matthisson's poems has puzzled many critics, for it is clear from his correspondence that he did not feel any respect for Matthisson as a poet. 25


See Charlotte von Lengefeld's letter to Schiller of l O March 1789, Schiller's letter to Komer of 4 May 1795 and von Humboldt's letter to Schiller of 23 October 1795.

Über Matthissons Gedichte


The answer lies in the fact that Matthisson was an enthusiast for the new feeling for Nature. He was an eager disciple of Rousseau, he supported the English garden movement and he made pilgrimages to Switzerland, where he enjoyed ascending mountains and contemplating sublime scenery.26 His enthusiasm for the English garden was so great that he even chose to live in Worlitz park, which he described as a 'Feengarten' and as 'das Musterbild einer landschaftlichen Gartenschopfung'. 27 This concern with the new feeling for Nature is clearly reflected in his poems. All the poems which Schiller discusses at length in the second part of the review depict landscape forms which were favoured by the new feeling for Nature. The landscape evoked in Mondscheingemdlde has the topography of an English garden, since it contains the Gothic and rustic adornments of a mossy, ruined tower, a Gothic abbey, the ruins of an aqueduct, a water mill, a farm and a hermitage. In addition, the sublime has not been forgotten in the poem, as is shown by the description in stanza 2 of a mountain with its desolate ravines and fir trees shrouded in ghostly mist. The poem Abendlandschaft evokes the mood of an English garden with its description of a landscape containing the remains of a medieval castle, a mossy hermit's cell and memorials to heroes. In Erinnerung am Genfersee, Matthisson's love of the Swiss landscape is evident in the tone of religious awe with which he depicts a sunset over Geneva and the surrounding mountains, while in stanzas 16 to 19 of Der Genfersee his admiration for Rousseau is clear when he celebrates 'Heloisens Zauberwelt' of Clarens and Meill'erie. In addition, his allusions to Tahiti and George Anson's voyage round the world in stanza 2 0 of Der Genfersee show that he was acquainted with exotic material.28 In Der Alpenwanderer and Alpenreise, he depicts sublime and terrifying Alpine landscapes. In the former, the walker passes through a terrifying mountain wilderness, accompanied by the sinister background noise of avalanches, cracking glaciers and the fearful cry of an eagle, while the latter depicts a sublime and elemental landscape of abysses, turbulent waterfalls, dark pine forests and glaciers, in which human life is constantly under threat. It must have been because the 1794 edition (in contrast to earlier editions) included such poems that Schiller was now attracted to Matthis-



For a detailed study of Matthisson's feeling for Nature see Heers, p.35, p.40, p.42 and pp.63-64 and Krebs, pp. 121-53. Schriften von Friedrich von Matthisson, III (1825), 284-85 and VII (1829), 26. See Friedrich Matthissons Gedichte, herausgegeben von Gottfried Bölsing, Bibliothek des Litterarischen Vereins in Stuttgart, 257, 261, 2 vols (Tübingen, 1912, 1913), I, 140.


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

son. In no other edition do the landscape forms favoured by the new feeling for Nature figure so largely. Many of his early poems were inspired by the Anacreontics, as is evident in the early Mannheim edition of 1787, in which the carpe diem motif and the stylised Anacreontic landscapes of bowers and groves predominate. However, he only included twelve poems from the Mannheim edition in the Zürich edition of 1791, and by 1794 he was concerned exclusively with the depiction of pre-Romantic landscape forms. In contrast, in editions after 1794 the landscape content in his poems is almost nonexistent, since in later years his overriding concern lay with the exploration of Classical themes and not with landscape depiction. When Schiller passes from his theoretical legitimisation of descriptive poetry to the empirical examples of Matthisson's poems, he indicates that he will judge them according to the criteria of the first section of the review: Wir haben diesen weiten Weg nicht genommen, um uns von unserm Dichter zu entfernen, sondern um demselben näher zu kommen. Jene dreierlei Erfodernisse landschaftlicher Darstellungen, welche wir soeben namhaft gemacht haben, vereinigt Hr. M. in den mehresten seiner Schilderungen. Sie gefallen uns durch ihre Wahrheit und Anschaulichkeit, sie ziehen uns an durch ihre musikalische Schönheit, sie beschäftigen uns durch den Geist, der darin atmet. (XXII,274)

It is clear that he is not concerned with giving an objective appreciation of Matthisson's poems since he wants to evaluate them purely in terms of the theory which he has expounded in the first part of the review.29 That Schiller is using the poems as examples to illustrate his legitimisation of descriptive poetry is apparent from the outset. The progressive tone of the first part of the review is maintained in his interpretation of Mondscheingemälde. Arguing that the poem, with its evocation of a moonlit landscape and the movement of stars, corn, tendrils, pine trees and water, depicts the changing dramas of Nature very successfully, he clearly advances beyond the traditional aesthetics which held that constantly changing natural phenomena were not worthy of representation in poetry. Turning to Erinnerung am Genfersee, he praises the landscape depiction in stanzas 1 and 3 and maintains that all the individual details of the landscape - the crimson haze round the dark hills, the glowing Alpine snow, the reflection of Geneva in the lake and the fisherman's boat gliding to the shore bathed in red light - are linked no

See Helmut Koopmann, 'Der Dichter als Kunstrichter: Zu Schillers Rezensionsstrategie', JDSG, 2 0 (1976), 229-46 (p.244) and XXII, 344.

Ober Mauhissons Gedichte


according to the law of necessity, so that they form a total picture of sunset over Geneva: 'Diese Bilder verknüpfen sich doch ohne Schwierigkeit in eine Totalvorstellung, weil eines das andere unterstützt und gleichsam notwendig macht' (XXII,275-76). By way of contrast, in Über Bürgers Gedichte, he had chastised Bürger for failing to idealise the content of his poems and dismissed them contemptuously as an incoherent hotchpotch of disparate and arbitrarily introduced images: 'Wir möchten die Gemälde, die er [=Bürger] uns aufstellt, mehr einen Zusammenwurf von Bildern, eine Kompilation von Zügen, eine Art Mosaik als Ideale nennen' (XXII,253). Schiller also insists that the landscape content in Matthisson's poems is 'beautiful' rather than merely 'pleasant' because it represents human emotions and ideas and is thus endowed with necessity. He states that Abendlandschaft gives the same impression as that given by a beautiful sonata, not so much because of its versification and metrical euphony, but because it is the 'Ausdruck einer bestimmten Empfindungsweise' (XXII, 277). Through its evocation of a sunset over a peaceful landscape, complete with the ruins of a medieval castle, a hermit's cell, a Druids' altar and decaying memorials to heroes, it inspires a mood of elegiac reflection in the reader. Similarly, he describes Der Alpenwanderer and Alpenreise as musical compositions because the Alpine landscapes are the vehicle for the depiction of the human emotions of terror and joy. In the former, the mood of terror evoked by the sublime mountain landscape - its raging torrents so powerful that they tear out trees and clumps of rock gives way to a mood of elation as the Alpine walker enters a sunlit meadow, a veritable Elysium. However, the mood once again turns to terror as the walker follows a path which leads through a life-threatening landscape of yawning crevasses, with the dreadful silence of the snowbound wilderness broken only by the cry of an eagle, the distant roar of avalanches and the cracking of glaciers. Similarly, in Alpenreise, a joyful mood gives way to terror as the traveller passes from a beautiful landscape of meadows, valleys and streams to a sublime landscape of glaciers, ravines, mountain torrents and crosses commemorating those who have lost their lives in this wilderness. At the end of the poem the mood changes from terror to tranquil pensiveness as a landscape showing traces of human habitation and bathed in the soft light of sunset opens up before the traveller. Schiller also asserts that the landscape depicted in Der Genfersee possesses the character of necessity, because through the contrast between the fertile shores of Lake Geneva and the wildness, desolation and formlessness of this landscape before Man cultivated and


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

tamed it, Matthisson expresses the idea of the victory of life over lifeless elements, of form over formless mass and of the triumph of human endeavour over chaos. Über Matthissons Gedichte is thus more a treatise on the possibilities of descriptive poetry than a review in the usual sense, for Schiller judges Matthisson's poems exclusively from the standpoint of his theory of descriptive poetry as an ideal art form. But his desire to present the poems as exemplifying his theory in fact leads him to take too subjective a view of them. At the beginning of his comments on Matthisson's poems, Schiller states that the images in the poems are connected according to the law of necessity: 'Alle einzelnen Partien in denselben [=in den Gedichten] finden sich nach einem Gesetz der Notwendigkeit zusammen, nichts ist willkürlich herbeigeführt' (XXII,274). However, the sections of the poems which he cites do not always demonstrate this necessity, for as Hamburger notes, they are often composed of nothing more than 'aneinandergereihte Szenerien', a series of disparate impressions which are only tenuously linked.30 Among Schiller's contemporaries, both Goethe and August Wilhelm Schlegel expressed reservations about his claim that Matthisson's poems are always characterised by unity of composition. After reading the review Goethe commented: 'Schillerische Recension von Matthisson geendigt und fürtrefflich gefunden. Der Dichter mit Recht gelobt, nur die Einheit der Darstellung hie und da vermißt.' 31 And in a polemical review in the journal Athenäum, Schlegel argued that even Matthisson's shortest poems possessed neither a coherent structure, nor consistency of tone and colouring, nor musical effect. In his criticism of Der Genfersee, Schlegel clearly dismisses Schiller's interpretation of the poem as having no basis in fact: Das Gedicht auf den Genfersee, das nur in einer ähnlichen Epoche des korrekt sentimentalen Geschmacks eben so berühmt werden konnte als Gray's Elegie auf einem Kirchhofe, ist durchaus kein Ganzes, und nachdem beträchtliche Stücke vom und hinten dazu gekommen, und in die Mitte hineingeschoben sind, noch weniger als anfangs. Wie passen, um nur eins anzuführen, die Erinnerungen an Rousseau's Heloise zu dem unmittelbar vorhergehenden Stücke aus der Urgeschichte des Erdbodens?32

We can assume that Schiller later recognised that his attempt to illustrate the legitimisation of descriptive poetry as an ideal art form with 30 31 32

'Schillers Lyrik-Theorie', p. 166. Diary entry of 2 0 July 1824, Goethes Werke, IX, part 3 (Weimar, 1897), 246. Quoted from Fambach, HI, 589.

Ober naive und senämentatische



individual examples from the genre constituted a weakness in the review. In a letter to Goethe of 12 January 1798, he recognises the problems which arise when an attempt is made to illustrate general philosophical concepts with empirical examples: 'Das ist mir z.B. sehr einleuchtend, wie gefährlich es ist, einen theoretischen Satz unmittelbar durch Versuche beweisen zu wollen. Es stimmt dieß wie mir däucht mit einer andern philosophischen Warnung überein, daß man seine Sätze nicht durch Beispiele beweisen solle, weil kein Satz dem Beispiel gleich ist' (XXIX, 186).33 Although in this instance he is commenting on Goethe's essay Der Versuch als Vermittler von Object und Subject, he expresses his criticisms in such general terms that they can legitimately be linked with the Matthisson review. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties created by the bipartite structure of the review, Schiller succeeds in presenting a spirited defence of the Moderns' craze for descriptive poetry, which was a product of the new feeling for Nature. His eagerness to legitimise landscape material as a worthy object for depiction in poetry is proof of his keen interest in the new feeling for Nature and the novel art forms to which it gave rise. Traditional aesthetics, which adhered to the canon of Greek Classicism, dismissed the practitioners of descriptive poetry as mere dilettantes, and it is against this background that the revolutionary and progressive nature of Schiller's endeavour becomes clear: that of developing a new poetic which accommodated the modern genre of descriptive poetry. It is for this reason that the review is a much more important document than has hitherto been believed.

II. Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung This treatise, published in three parts in Die Horen at the end of 1795 and beginning of 1796, is closely related to the Matthisson review both in its aims and content. As in Über Matthissons Gedichte, Schiller's main concern is modern Man's relationship with Nature: he aims to legitimise it and the new literary forms to which it gave rise as having equal, if not greater value than the Ancients' relationship with Nature. In fact, it could be argued that the treatise grew out of the review, as Schiller came to


See also Schiller's letter to von Humboldt of 27 June 1798, von Humboldt's reply of 12 July 1798 and Schiller's letter to Goethe of 2 0 January 1802.


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

realise that the new view of Nature was relevant not just to descriptive poetry, but to the whole of modern literature. In a letter to von Humboldt of 7 September 179S, Schiller describes the structure and themes of Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, stating that it would treat of the 'Gegensatz zwischen Einfalt der Natur und zwischen Cultur' and would be composed of various sections: 'Ueber alte und neue Dichter werde ich manches bemerken. An die specielle Zergliederung des Naiven komme ich aber erst in dem 2ten Theil des Aufsatzes. Der erste handelt nur von dem Interesse an der Natur überhaupt' (XXVIII,44-45). It is clear that Schiller regards Man's interest in Nature as the central theoretical premise of the treatise. That Schiller's main concern is the new feeling for Nature has not been fully realised because critics, both contemporary and modern, have concentrated on his views about poetry in the second part of the treatise without recognising that his legitimisation of modern literature is derived from his interpretation of modern Man's relationship with Nature. For Goethe, the treatise had only negative associations, since he regarded it as a defiant statement of Schiller's opposition to his view of poetry and, even worse, as the theoretical basis for the Schlegel brothers' dubious new literary movement, to which he himself was so vehemently opposed: 'Ich hatte in der Poesie die Maxime des objektiven Verfahrens und wollte nur dieses gelten lassen. Schiller aber, der ganz subjektiv wirkte, hielt seine Art für die rechte, und um sich gegen mich zu wehren, schrieb er den Aufsatz über naive und sentimentale Dichtung. . . . Die Schlegel ergriffen die Idee und trieben sie weiter.' 34 In his Vorschule der Ästhetik, Jean Paul criticised the exclusivity of the concepts 'naiv' and 'sentimental', dismissing them as empty and schematised classifications which do no justice to the variety of literary forms in Classical and Romantic literature.35 In modern criticism, the treatise has generally been examined not on its own terms, but in the context of its influence on later Romantic theories,36 and in particular on Friedrich Schlegel's concepts of 'objektive' and 'interessante Poesie' in Über das Studium der griechischen Poesie,37 34 35

Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe, 21 March 1830, GA, XXIV, 4 0 5 - 0 6 . Jean Paul, Werke, herausgegeben von Norbert Miller (München, 1966 -), V (1967), 85-86 and 92. See Benjamin Samuel Howard, 'European romantic variations on themes from Friedrich

Schiller's Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung' (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 37

University of Georgia, 1972). See Richard Brinkmann, 'Romantische Dichtungstheorie in Friedrich Schlegels Frühschriften und Schillers Begriffe des Naiven und Sentimentalischen: Vorzeichen einer

Über naive und senämentalische Dichtung


Where this is the case, again only the second part of the treatise has been examined, with the result that Schiller's explanation of the reasons for the Moderns' enthusiasm for Nature in the first part of the treatise has been ignored. In the first part of his treatise, Schiller contrasts the Moderns' love, enthusiasm and respect for landscape with the Ancient Greeks' comparative lack of interest in Nature. As in Über Matthissons Gedichte, he describes the differences between the ancient and modern feeling for Nature in some detail: Der Grieche ist zwar im höchsten Grade genau, treu, umständlich in Beschreibung derselben [=der Naturscenen], aber doch gerade nicht mehr und mit keinem vorzüglicheren Herzensantheil, als er es auch in Beschreibung eines Anzuges, eines Schildes, einer Rüstung, eines Hausgeräths oder irgend eines mechanischen Produktes ist. . . . Die Natur scheint mehr seinen Verstand und seine Wißbegierde, als sein moralisches Gefühl zu interessiren; er hängt nicht mit Innigkeit, mit Empfindsamkeit, mit süsser Wehmuth an derselben, wie wir Neuern. . . . Seine ungeduldige Phantasie führt ihn über sie hinweg zum Drama des menschlichen Lebens. Nur das Lebendige und Freye, nur Charaktere, Handlungen, Schicksale und Sitten befriedigen ihn. (XX, 429-30)

Schiller advances a theory which explains this difference in attitude towards the external world by arguing that, in modern times, sincerity and moral honesty have disappeared from humanity. Due to the artificiality of culture, modern Man has lost the ability to act according to his innate moral instincts, with the result that he actively seeks out Nature, which alone in the modern world can satisfy his longing for truth and simplicity: 'Nicht unsere größere Naturmäßigkeit, ganz im Gegentheil die Naturwidrigkeit unsrer Verhältnisse, Zustände und Sitten treibt uns an, dem erwachenden Triebe nach Wahrheit und Simplicität, der, wie die moralische Anlage, aus welcher er fliesset, unbestechlich und unaustilgbar in allen menschlichen Herzen liegt, in der physischen Welt eine Befriedigung zu verschaffen, die in der moralischen nicht zu hoffen ist' (XX,430). Modern Man thus shows a heightened interest in Nature because the sight of the simplicity of Nature will always delight the person who lives

Emanzipation des Historischen1, DVLG, 32 (1958), 344-71, Alfred Doppler, 'Schiller und die Fiühromantik', JWGV, NF, 64 (I960), 71-91 (pp.82-87) and Lovejoy, 'Schiller and the Genesis of German Romanticism', in Lovejoy, Essays in the History of Ideas, pp.207-27 (pp.216-27).


Schiller'8 Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

in an artificial culture. By contrast, Greek culture was not degenerate, so that the Greeks had no need to flee to Nature in order to find truth and simplicity, for these qualities were still innate in Man. Hence the Greeks were more concerned with human life than with Nature in their literature: 'Da also der Grieche die Natur in der Menschheit nicht verloren hatte, so konnte er, außerhalb dieser, auch nicht von ihr überrascht werden, und so kein dringendes Bedürfhiß nach Gegenständen haben, in denen er sie wieder fand. Einig mit sich selbst, und glücklich im Gefühl seiner Menschheit mußte er bey dieser als seinem Maximum stille stehen' (XX,431). It is the different relationships with landscape resulting from the contrasting characters of ancient and modern culture which prompt Schiller to formulate the concepts of the 'naiv' and the 'sentimental'. The 'naiv' encompasses all that is artless and unsophisticated, including landscapes, simple gardens, animals, flowers, children, country folk, the Ancient Greeks, primitive peoples and any man in modern times who, despite the artificiality of the culture in which he lives, never dissembles and always acts according to the dictates of instinct rather than those of reason. On the other hand, the disappearance of simple customs, the loss of equilibrium between sense and reason in the individual, the tendency to act according to reflection rather than instinct, human behaviour prompted by deceit rather than by frankness and a love of Nature are 'sentimental' phenomena, for they are the product of the artificiality of modem culture. 'Sentimental' Man's experience of disunity in himself and his disenchantment with the behaviour of his fellow human beings will thus give rise to an overwhelming desire to flee culture and to seek consolation in Nature, for, Schiller argues, 'unser Gefühl für Natur gleicht der Empfindung des Kranken für die Gesundheit' (XX,431). Such a view is already put forward in Über Matthissons Gedichte, where Schiller argues that because of its simplicity and constant unity, Nature provides a welcome refuge for modern Man, who is caught up in the 'Tumult der geschäftigen Welt' (XXII,281). Matthisson is thus the prototype of 'sentimental' Man: landscape material and themes which are closely related to landscape, such as friendship, love, religious feelings, reminiscences of childhood and the joys of country life, figure so largely in his lyric because only in Nature can modern Man find an antidote to the artificiality of the culture in which he lives. Rousseau's call for a 'Return to Nature' and the complete abandonment of culture was one of the principal sources of the new feeling for Nature. Schiller, however, advanced beyond Rousseau's thinking and made his

Ober naive und sentimentalische Dichtung


own contribution by taking care to distance himself from the belief that the only solution for modern Man's ills was the complete abandonment of culture. In the state of pastoral innocence, as Rousseau envisaged it, Man would enjoy complete rest and contentment arising from the total absence of conflict and struggle. Schiller, by contrast, detested resignation and quiescence. Thus, in interpreting Matthisson's enthusiastic feeling for Nature, he argues that, for a return to the simplicity of Nature to be beneficial, modern Man should not sacrifice the advantages which culture brings. He should, rather, seek out Nature in order to find the energy to meet the challenges of culture more effectively. In the same way, the writer of descriptive poetry must ensure that he is returning to Nature not in order to avoid all conflict through the abandonment of culture but to find the energy to strive for a new harmony: 'Will uns also der Dichter aus dem Gedränge der Welt in seine Einsamkeit nachziehen, so muß es nicht Bedürfnis der Abspannung, sondern der Anspannung, nicht Verlangen nach Ruhe, sondern nach Harmonie sein, was ihm die Kunst verleidet und die Natur liebenswürdig macht' (XXII,282). In Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, Schiller is equally critical of Rousseau's intemperate advocacy of an abandonment of culture and of all conflict and struggle. Expanding the point which he makes in Über Matthissons Gedichte about the longing for harmony, he argues that modem Man's heightened interest in and need for Nature must provide the stimulus for his reaching a higher degree of development and perfection. The characteristics of natural objects, which he defines as 'das stille schaffende Leben, das ruhige Wirken aus sich selbst, das Daseyn nach eignen Gesetzen, die innere Nothwendigkeit, die ewige Einheit mit sich selbst' (XX,414), are those which modern Man has lost, and which he must strive to regain, for their absence makes his character imperfect. The enjoyment which he feels in contemplating Nature arises, therefore, from the expression by natural objects of the idea of humanity in its perfect state. On the other hand, Schiller argues, the effect of Nature on modern Man is refreshing rather than dazzling, and edifying rather than humiliating, for although he sees in it qualities which he has forfeited, he also recognises that it lacks reason, which is Man's unique prerogative. In contrast with Rousseau, who condemned reason as evil because it gives rise to conflict and creates disharmony, Schiller believes that through his frequent contact with Nature, modern Man should try to absorb something of its peace and simplicity without abandoning the faculty of reason, for only if he combines his prerogative of reason with the 'naiv' qualities of


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

Nature will he attain an ideal state of harmony. It is for this reason that Schiller urges modern Man to examine the motives behind his love for Nature, insisting that in returning to Nature he must seek harmony and not a state of unconsciousness, inertia and lethargy, for only sensual man bemoans the loss of the latter: 'Frage dich also wohl, empfindsamer Freund der Natur, ob deine Trägheit nach ihrer Ruhe, ob deine beleidigte Sittlichkeit nach ihrer Ubereinstimmung schmachtet? . . . Jene Natur, die du dem Vernunftlosen beneidest, ist keiner Achtung, keiner Sehnsucht werth. Sie liegt hinter dir, sie muß ewig hinter dir liegen' (XX,428). A feeling for Nature characterised by vulgar sentimentality is another example of a contemporary attitude which Schiller condemns as a deviation from the ideal. For Schiller, an interest in Nature which is based solely on the affectation and sentimentality encouraged by the eighteenth-century vogue for tales of sentimental journeys and for sentimental gardens is an aberrant manifestation of the true feeling for Nature. He dismisses this sentimentality as mere affected 'Liebhabereyen' (XX,4IS), for the true feeling for Nature is based on the universal principle that all men who are separated from the unity of Nature will be drawn to it, because it expresses the idea of Man in his perfection. Schiller demands that the contemplation of natural objects should have not only a melting but also an energising effect on Man, offering him some relaxation from the rigours of culture but also spurring him on to strive for perfection. A sentimental feeling for Nature clearly precludes the latter, for it merely encourages passivity and melancholy wallowing in sentiment. Schiller thus demands that Man should not look sentimentally backwards or attempt to regain his original state as Rousseau recommended, but should strive towards a future goal which can only be attained by combining the advantages of reason and culture with those of Nature: 'Sie [=natürliche Gegenstände] sind, was wir waren; sie sind, was wir wieder werden sollen. Wir waren Natur, wie sie, und unsere Kultur soll uns, auf dem Wege der Vernunft und der Freyheit, zur Natur zurückführen' (XX,414). This eagerness of Schiller's that modern Man should seek out Nature in order to become whole is a clear refutation of the view that he was hostile towards Nature: Trittst du heraus zu ihr [ = d e r Natur] aus deinem künstlichen Kreis, steht sie vor dir in ihrer großen Ruhe, in ihrer naiven Schönheit, in ihrer kindlichen Unschuld und Einfalt; dann verweile bey diesem Bilde, pflege dieses Gefühl, es ist deiner herrlichsten Menschheit würdig. Laß dir nicht mehr einfallen, mit ihr tauschen zu wollen, aber nimm sie in dich auf und strebe, ihren unendlichen Vorzug mit deinem eigenen unendlichen Prärogativ zu vermählen, und aus beydem das Göttliche zu erzeugen. Sie

Über naive und semimentalische Dichtung


umgebe dich wie eine liebliche Idylle, in der du dich selbst immer wiederfindest, aus den Verirrungen der Kunst, bey der du Muth und neues Vertrauen sammelst zum Laufe und die Flamme des Ideals, die in den Stürmen des Lebens so leicht erlischt, in deinem Heizen von neuem entzündest. (XX,428-29)

Schiller's attitude to Nature is the basis of his view of literature. Just as in the Matthisson review he defended descriptive poetry against the attacks of the 'Rigoristen', so in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung he defends modern literature in general against those who judge it according to the canon of Greek Classicism, declaring that too much attention had been paid to the Ancients in matters of poetic legislation: 'Denn freylich, wenn man den Gattungsbegriff der Poesie zuvor einseitig aus den alten Poeten abstrahirt hat, so ist nichts leichter, aber auch nichts trivialer, als die modernen gegen sie herabzusetzen' (XX,439). He refuses to join the majority of critics and use the standards of the Ancients to appraise modern literature, for this merely results in it being dismissed as an 'Abart', a deviation from the ideal Classical norm, when in fact in his eyes it constitutes 'eine ächte Art' and 'eine Erweiterung der wahren Dichtkunst' (XX,467). 38 In order to achieve his aim of demonstrating that modern literature is capable of attaining the ideal, he replaces the canon of Greek Classicism with a new standard against which modern literature must be judged: that of the true feeling for Nature as expounded at the beginning of the treatise. The great importance which Schiller attributes to the new feeling for Nature is shown by the fact that he derives his classification of literature from it. Explaining the differences between ancient and modern literature in terms of the different attitudes of the Ancients and Moderns towards Nature, he points out that as Nature disappeared from human life as an experience because of moral and aesthetic degeneracy, Man was moved by the phenomenon of the 'naiv' and made it the main topic of his literature. 'Sentimental' poets, among whom Schiller classes Euripides, Horace, Propertius and Virgil, thus seek out Nature because they have experienced the disunifying influence of culture. In contrast, 'naiv' poets such as Homer and Shakespeare have no experience of disunity, so they do not seek out Nature but concentrate on depicting Man and human actions. Because the Ancients did not feel any particular affection for Nature, objects are depicted with cold and unemotional objectivity in 'naiv' 38

See also Schiller's letter to von Humboldt of 26 October 1795, in which he defends modern literature against ancient literature.


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

literature. On the other hand, because the contemplation of Nature makes modern Man reflect on his imperfection, objects will always prompt the 'sentimental' poet to look inside himself and search his own soul. 'Sentimental' poetry is thus akin to music, for it arises from a certain emotional state, while 'naiv' poetry is related to sculpture, because it is concerned with the imitation of a particular object. In addition, Schiller argues that the predominant moods of 'sentimental' literature, the satirical, elegiac and idyllic, are also a product of the new feeling for Nature. But before turning to individual examples of 'sentimental' literature, he uses the true and aberrant manifestations of modern Man's enthusiasm for Nature to establish the pure concept of these moods and the conditions which a 'sentimental' writer must fulfil if he is to claim aesthetic value for his work. In each case, Schiller's insistence that the moods of 'sentimental' literature should take as their ideal Man in a state of moral harmony rather than Man in a state of physical inertia and torpor illustrates his reaction against Rousseau's view of a 'Return to Nature'. If the 'sentimental' poet dwells predominantly on the defects of reality and its distance from the integrity of Nature, Schiller sees him as treating his material satirically. But just as he insisted that modern Man must seek out Nature in order to marry his prerogative of reason with Nature's perfection, so he demands that the satirical poet must show that his distaste for the degenerate age in which he lives springs from a desire for harmony and from the ideal of Man as a harmonious whole, so that his work moves the reader through the ideas which it expresses and speaks to the heart through the path of reason. In contrast, he dismisses as worthless the work of a satirist who merely complains about the evils of culture because they stand in the way of the fulfilment of his material interests rather than of his desire for harmony. The elegiac mood in its true and aberrant manifestations also illustrates Schiller's interpretation of the new view of Nature, for he insists that grief at the loss of a golden age must flow from a longing for moral harmony and not from a desire for a state of physical contentment and inertia: Der elegische Dichter sucht die Natur, aber in ihrer Schönheit, nicht bloß in ihrer Annehmlichkeit, in ihrer Ubereinstimmung mit Ideen, nicht bloß in ihrer Nachgiebigkeit gegen das Bedürfniß. Die Trauer über verlorne Freuden, Ober das aus der Welt verschwundene goldene Alter, über das entflohene Glück der Jugend, der Liebe u.s.w. kann nur alsdann der Stoff einer elegischen Dichtung werden, wenn jene Zustände sinnlichen Friedens zugleich als Gegenstände moralischer Harmonie sich vorstellen lassen. ( X X . 4 5 0 )

Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung


Just as Schiller insists that Rousseau's ideal of a 'Return to Nature' is unworthy of Man's dignity, so in his examination of the idyllic mood he distances himself from the conventional view that the idyll should be set in an age before the beginning of culture. In the same way that Man should seek out Nature in order to advance towards his perfection, the idyll should look forward to the final goal of culture when Man will be in a state of harmony and at peace with himself. Modern Man must not be satisfied with a mere state of physical contentment, but should be stimulated to strive for perfection, so that the 'sentimental' idyll should prefigure 'Elysium' rather than look back to 'Arcadia', an age before the inception of culture: 'Er [=der idyllische Dichter] führe uns nicht rückwärts in unsre Kindheit, um uns mit den kostbarsten Erwerbungen des Verstandes eine Ruhe erkaufen zu lassen, die nicht länger dauren kann, als der Schlaf unsrer Geisteskräfte; sondern führe uns vorwärts zu unsrer Mündigkeit, um uns die höhere Harmonie zu empfinden zu geben, die den Kämpfer belohnet, die den Uberwinder beglückt' (XX,472). Thus, the purpose of the 'sentimental' idyll is to reveal to Man in his present state of disharmony the idea of Man in his perfection: such an idea can reconcile him to all the evils which he meets on the path of culture. In a clear allusion to Rousseau's thinking, Schiller maintains that if his reasoning is false, then those who aver that culture and Man's reason are evil and that the lost state of pastoral innocence is Man's true goal would be vindicated. Having established the pure concept of the satire, elegy and idyll on the basis of his exposition of the true feeling for Nature, Schiller tests empirical examples of modern literature against each concept in order to determine their aesthetic value. More often than not, he establishes that modern literary works fall short of the ideal because they are the product of the aberrant manifestations of the modern feeling for Nature, and this shows the extent to which his view of Nature differs from that of the authors he discusses. Thus, just as he attacks a 'Return to Nature' which is not inspired by a longing for harmony, so he criticises Voltaire's satires on the grounds that emotional poverty rather than a striving for the ideal prompted their composition. Schiller also condemns an attitude towards Nature which is characterised by gross sentimentality, and so it is not surprising that he should criticise the 'zärtliche Weichmüthigkeit' and 'Schwermuth' (XX, 460) of some elegiac poems, arguing that they lack the energising principle and will thus merely flatter the senses and encourage Man to remain in a state of passive inertia. He suggests that, measured against these


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

criteria, Ovid's elegies, for example, cannot be seen as truly poetic works, for there is too little energy and spirit in the poet's resignation. Turning to other 'sentimental' authors whose works are characterised by the elegiac mood, Schiller cites the writings of Rousseau and Ewald von Kleist as demonstrating the 'sentimental' poet's eagerness to seek out Nature. But, as we have seen, he criticises the ideal of humanity which Rousseau advances in his works because Rousseau places greater stress on Man's limitations than on his capabilities and depicts Man's need for physical inertia rather than his desire for moral harmony: Seine [=Rousseaus] leidenschaftliche Empfindlichkeit ist Schuld, daß er die Menschheit, um nur des Streits in derselben recht bald los zu werden, lieber zu der geistlosen Einförmigkeit des ersten Standes zurückgeführt, als jenen Streit in der geistreichen Harmonie einer völlig durchgeführten Bildung geendigt sehen, daß er die Kunst lieber gar nicht anfangen lassen, als ihre Vollendung erwarten will, kurz, daß er das Ziel lieber niedriger steckt, und das Ideal lieber herabsetzt, um es nur desto schneller, um es nur desto sicherer zu erreichen. (XX,452)

Kleist's poems, 'sentimental' because they dwell on country scenes and the harmony and peace of Nature, also fall short of the ideal in Schiller's estimation, for he argues that even in the solitude of Nature, Kleist is pursued by the spectre of his culture, and thus can never find relief from its baleful influence. He can never make the harmony and peace of Nature his own, for instead of remaining aloof from external chaos, he has internalised the confusion of his age. Schiller sees this as being reflected in Kleist's poems, which he describes as 'eher veränderlich als reich, eher spielend als schaffend, eher unruhig fortschreitend als sammelnd und bildend' (XX,455). As for modern works characterised by the idyllic mood, Schiller is critical of Geßner's 'Schäferidyllen' because they depict Man in a state of pastoral innocence before the beginning of culture.39 He concedes that 'Schäferidyllen' have a role to play, for they show Nature in all its simplicity and naivety, and thus give the Moderns the chance to cleanse themselves of the baleful influences of reason and culture. He argues, however, that this palliative role does not endow these poems with aesthetic value, for they express only sadness at the loss of a golden age without the energising effect which flows from a counterbalancing feeling of hope: 'Wir können sie [=die Hirtenidyllen] daher nur lieben und

For a full examination of Schiller's concept of the idyll in all his works see Horst Rüdiger, 'Schiller und das Pastorale', Euphorion, 53 (1959), 229-51.

Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung


aufsuchen, wenn wir der Ruhe bedürftig sind, nicht wenn unsre Kräfte nach Bewegung und Thätigkeit streben. Sie können nur dem kranken Gemüthe Heilung, dem gesunden keine Nahrung geben; sie können nicht beleben, nur besänftigen' (XX,469). By contrast, Schiller praises the satires of Lucian, Cervantes, Fielding, Sterne and Wieland as examples of the pure concept of the satire, maintaining that their wit is infused with ideal content. However, he only cites one work - the Ossian poems - as an example of the pure concept of the elegy. He places them in the category of modern, 'sentimental' literature, for sublime landscape, rather than the human world, is the main theme of the songs. Like modern Man, Ossian seeks out Nature because of his experience of the degeneracy of contemporary culture. And, referring to Carthon, he also declares that there is energy and hope in Ossian's pain and melancholy, for turning away from the devastation which he encounters in the human world to seek rest in the consoling presence of Nature, he is filled with hope at the idea of permanence which the course of the sun embodies. However, Schiller does not mention that Ossian ends his address to the sun with a reference to its transience: 'Aber du bist vielleicht, wie ich, nur für eine Zeit, deine Jahre werden ein End haben. Du wirst schlafen in deinen Wolken, unbesorgt auf die Stimme des Morgens.' 40 This omission on Schiller's part clearly shows the extent to which he shared his pre-Romantic contemporaries' taste and responded to the poems with uncritical enthusiasm. Although Schiller lists many idylls which fall short of the ideal, he clearly encounters some difficulty in citing examples of modern literature which fulfil his demand that the 'sentimental' poet should show Man advancing to a higher state, to 'Elysium', rather than regressing to 'Arcadia'. In Über Matthissons Gedichte, he tentatively suggests that Matthisson's poems lead Man forward to 'Elysium' because they combine simplicity of feeling with the influences of the most advanced culture (XXII,282). However, in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, he concentrates exclusively on idylls which fall short of the ideal, such as Geßner's 'Schäferidyllen' and Rousseau's La Nouvelle Helol'se. That he is unable to cite any examples demonstrating in practice the concept of the new, more advanced idyll is, no doubt, due in no small measure to the practical difficulties involved in depicting a state of harmony where all opposition between reality and the ideal is removed and where a condition Quoted from Die Gedichte Ossians, Obersetzt von Freyherm von Harold, zweyte verbesserte Auflage, 2 vols (Mannheim, 1782), I, 133-34.


Schiller's Attitude towards the New Feeling for Nature

of contentment and peace flows not from inertia but from the equilibrium of all the human faculties. Schiller himself failed to execute such an enterprise, for his plan to write an idyll on the theme of Hercules' marriage to Hebe, mentioned in a letter to von Humboldt of 29 and 3 0 November 1795, was never carried out. However, even though Schiller could find few examples of true 'sentimental' literature and possibly himself experienced the difficulties involved in writing a 'sentimental' idyll, he was not to be deflected from his faith in modern literature and his firm conviction that it is superior to 'naiv' literature. He demonstrates this superiority by pointing out that the 'naiv' poet can treat only a small fraction of the material available to the 'sentimental' poet. The 'naiv' poet, because he merely copies reality and depicts it objectively, must be surrounded by 'eine schöne Natur', 'ein glücklicher Himmel' (XX,429) and 'eine formreiche Natur' (XX,476) if his works are to have aesthetic value. If this is not the case, he must become 'sentimental' if he is to avoid the pitfall of writing works characterised by 'Plattheiten' (XX,478). By contrast, the 'sentimental' poet can treat his material in many different ways, for he reflects on the multifarious impressions which objects make on him. He can thus successfully depict ugly and formless landscapes in art, without falling short of the ideal, because he reflects on what he sees, and expresses ideas through landscape. He idealises his material, making good all its limitations and transforming a limited object into an ideal, infinite object. 41 Schiller describes this process as the 'sentimentalische Operation' (XX, 478), by which he means the same as the 'symbolische Operation' in the Matthisson review, namely the process whereby the poet introduces the character of necessity into a landscape by making it the vehicle for the representation of human emotions or of ideas. Schiller thus shows that the Modems' feeling for Nature and the 'sentimental' literature to which it gives rise have many advantages over the Ancients' feeling for Nature and over 'naiv' literature. He puts his own characteristic stamp on the new view of Nature by advancing the a priori concepts which establish the attributes of a love of Nature worthy of Man's dignity, and it is from this true feeling for Nature that he derives his classification of literature. The progressive character of Schiller's See also Schiller's letter to Goethe of 23 August 1794, where he describes Goethe's achievements as being even more laudable than those of the Ancients, for through the power of his intellect and imagination he has made good the faults of the 'wilde und nordische Natur' into which he has been bom: in contrast, the Ancients would have been incapable of executing this 'sentimental' operation (XXVII, 26).

Über naive und sentimentatische Dichtung


approach is thus shown by the fact that he is unwilling to follow the majority of critics and judge 'sentimental' literature according to the canon of Greek Classicism, but lays down new critical standards which are more relevant to contemporary thought and concerns and hence capable of doing justice to modern literature. Above all, the treatise shows that Schiller held modern Man's love of Nature to be the single most important influence on his personal, literary and creative life. Schiller's fervently held belief that Man could regain his lost harmony through frequent contact with Nature refutes the notion that he was an ivory tower aesthete who ignored the physical world and sought solutions for Man's ills solely in the realm of the spirit.

Chapter Three: Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93 Having investigated Schiller's attitude towards the revolution in taste as a general phenomenon, I now wish to examine his response to individual aspects of the new feeling for Nature, beginning with the English garden. Because of the wealth of material, I shall devote two chapters to this topic, the first detailing Schiller's attitude towards the English garden in the years 1759-93, the second covering the years 1794-99.

I. The Early Years One of the most striking contrasts which Schiller experienced in his early life was that between Lorch and Ludwigsburg. In 1767, the family moved from Lorch, a peaceful village surrounded by forests, to the glittering artificiality of Ludwigsburg, where Schiller lived until he began his studies at the military academy in 1773. In Ludwigsburg he had his first experience of garden design, which was of the French style, for Karl Eugen's palace at Ludwigsburg with its magnificent gardens became known as 'das schwäbische Versailles'.1 It was here that the Duke, renowned for his profligacy, mounted lavish operatic displays. According to Andreas Streicher, the ten-year-old Schiller was not impressed by these elaborate and colourful shows with all their sensational effects: 'So sehr dieses alles vereinigt ihn auch außer sich versetzen mußte, so hatte es doch nur die äußern Sinne des Auges, des Ohres berührt, aber Gefühl und Gemüth weder angesprochen noch befriedigt.' 2 At the military academy, Schiller was once again living in the environment of the French garden, for until it was moved to Stuttgart in 1775, the academy was based at Solitude, Karl Eugen's magnificent rococo palace, which was surrounded by an equally splendid formal garden. Here, Schiller was to experience Reinhard Buchwald, Schiller, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1937), I, 119. Schiller's Flucht von Stuttgart und Aufenthalt in Mannheim von J 782 bis 17S5 (Stuttgart und Augsburg, 1836), p.20.

n i e Early Years


Karl Eugen's absolutism at first hand, suffering much hardship and misery under the harsh and arbitrary regime of the academy. Even after he left the academy and became a regimental doctor, he was not immune from Karl Eugen's tyranny, for when the Duke learned of his clandestine second trip to Mannheim, he punished him with a fortnight's detention and the express order never to write literary works in future. It is significant that, on the night of his flight from Stuttgart, the sight of a lavish party laid on by Karl Eugen in honour of the Russian prince in the palace and garden at Solitude should have been Schiller's last fleeting impression of his homeland: 'Gegen Mitternacht sah man links von Ludwigsburg eine außerordentliche Rothe am Himmel, und als der Wagen in die Linie der Solitude kam, zeigte das daselbst auf einer bedeutenden Erhöhung liegende Schloß mit allen seinen weitläufigen Nebengebäuden sich in einem Feuerglanze, der sich in der Entfernung von anderthalb Stunden auf das Ueberraschendste ausnahm.' 3 That the young Schiller did not fail to make a connection between the lavish spectacles which took place in the magnificent French gardens at Ludwigsburg and Solitude and the despotism and absolutism of Karl Eugen is clear in Kabale und Liebe, which he began writing in 1782 in Oggersheim, shortly after his flight from Stuttgart. In II. 1, the parallel between despotism over people and despotism over Nature is brought out very clearly, for Lady Milford expresses the Herzog's despotism and prodigality in terms of his ability to harness Nature to create a magnificent effect, and contrasts this material wealth with his emotional impoverishment: Er kann mit dem Talisman seiner Größe jeden Gelüst meines Herzens, wie ein Feenschloß, aus der Erde rufen. - Er setzt den Saft von zwei Indien auf die Tafel - ruft Paradiese aus Wildnissen - läßt die Quellen seines Landes in stolzen Bögen gen Himmel springen, oder das Mark seiner Untertanen in einem Feuerwerk hinpuffen - - Aber kann er auch seinem Herzen befehlen, gegen ein großes feuriges Herz groß und feurig zu schlagen? Kann er sein darbendes Gehirn auf ein einziges schönes Gefühl exequieren? (V,26)

It is widely accepted that in this passage, Schiller has in mind Solitude and the lavish firework displays which took place there. 4 The Herzog's court is clearly modelled on that of Karl Eugen, for the latter's love of pomp and spectacle is echoed by the Hofmarschall von Kalb in III.2: 'Heute abend

Streicher, p.81. See comment V, 221.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

ist große Opera Dido - das süperbeste Feuerwerk - eine ganze Stadt brennt zusammen' (V,S1). Schiller suggests his dislike of the French garden in the play by associating it with political despotism, for he depicts it as the landscape form favoured by the figurehead of a corrupt, immoral and inhumane court. His rejection of the French style is supported by the fact that the Hofmarschall von Kalb, who takes French manners and customs as his model to the extent of speaking an unnatural and affected hybrid of French and German, is depicted both as a figure of fun and as an effeminate and degenerate dandy. In contrast, Ferdinand von Walter, who shuns the pomp and intrigue of the court, supporting personal freedom and the liberal ideal in the face of political despotism, prefers the wide-open spaces of Nature and the sublimity of natural phenomena to the magnificence of the French garden, as is shown by his passionate appeal to Luise in III.4 to flee the country with him: 'Mein Vaterland ist, wo mich Luise liebt. Deine Fußtapfe in wilden sandigten Wüsten [ist] mir interessanter, als das Münster in meiner Heimat - Werden wir die Pracht der Städte vermissen? Wo wir sein mögen, Luise, geht eine Sonne auf, eine unter - Schauspiele, neben welchen der üppigste Schwung der Künste verblaßt' (V,56). Schiller's critical stance towards the French garden is also evident in the Briefeines reisenden Dänen, written after a visit to the Antikensaal in Mannheim in May 1784. Before giving details of the various sculptures in the Antikensaal, Schiller, in the guise of a travelling Dane, describes his reaction to the splendour of a French garden. At first, he is amazed and astonished at the spectacle of the triumph of Art over Nature: 'Ich habe vielleicht das höchste der Pracht und des Reichthums gesehen. Der Triumph einer Menschenhand über die hartnäckige Gegenwehr der Natur überraschte mich öfters' (XX, 101). However, he then catches sight of a beggar in the midst of all the splendour, and the contrast between the magnificence of the garden and the abject poverty of the beggar transforms his astonishment into horror: 'Eine hohläugige Hungerfigur, die mich in den blumigten Promenaden eines fürstlichen Lustgartens anbettelt - eine sturzdrohende Schindelhütte, die einem pralerischen Pallast gegenüber steht - wie schnell schlägt sie meinen auffliegenden Stolz zu Boden! . . . Ich sehe jezt die Flüche von Tausenden gleich einer gefräßigen Würmerwelt in dieser großsprechenden Verwesung wimmeln - Das große und reizende wird mir abscheulich' (XX,101). The beggar, an object of exploitation, shows how despotism over Nature is linked with repression of human beings, and thus reminds Schiller of the grounds for his aversion to the French garden.

The Early Years


Schiller's distaste for the French garden in the early 1780s must be contrasted with his interest in the English garden at this time. He clearly knew of Ermenonville, for in stanza 1 of his poem Rousseau, included in the Anthologie auf das Jähr 1782, he greets Rousseau's grave at Ermenonville and declares that only here did the poet find rest and peace after a life of homelessness, turmoil and uncertainty. It is, however, unlikely that Schiller actually made a pilgrimage to the poplar island at Ermenonville in the early 1780s, as Osvald Sirén suggests, for at this time he was very short of money and would certainly not have had the means to travel to France.5 Although the perspective of the first stanza of Rousseau would appear to suggest that Schiller is standing before Rousseau's grave at Ermenonville, it is probable that he is merely imagining it in his mind's eye. The reference to Ermenonville is confined to the first stanza, with the rest of the poem being devoted to an account of Rousseau's ignominious treatment at the hands of his countrymen. More concrete evidence of Schiller's interest in the English garden in the early 1780s is provided by an article by Johann Jakob Atzel in the journal Wirtembergisches Repertorium der Litteratur of 1782, which Schiller published at his own expense. The article, Schreiben über einen Versuch in Grabmälern, nebst Probenmust be interpreted in the context of the fashion for erecting memorials to dead heroes in English gardens. Atzel stresses the strong emotional effect of a well-positioned memorial in a garden: 'Das Andenken eines Helden, oder sonst eines ehrwürdigen Mannes, hervorgerufen durch alles was Baukunst und Bildhauerey rührendes und zauberisches hat, vermischt mit den feierlichen Rührungen, welche wohlgewählte Oerter und Nebendinge erwecken, muß in einer nicht ganz feuerlosen Seele tief und stark wirken.' 7 And at the end of his article, he suggests architectural designs for memorials to Luther, Kepler, Haller and Klopstock and gives some indication of the character of the landscape in which they should be erected: Luther's should be in a sublime area, Kepler's in a lonely, melancholy place, Haller's on a hill outside a graveyard, and Klopstock's in a solemn grove of oak trees. As well as publishChina and Gardens of Europe of the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1950), p. 127. This essay and Schiller's role in its composition have received very little critical attention. I have only encountered one short article on the subject: Siegmar Gerndt, 'Der Durchgang zum Paradies. Zwei Skizzen von Johann Jakob Atzel in Schillers Wirtembergischen Repertorium', in Vergleichen und Verändern: Festschrift für Helmut Motekat, herausgegeben von Albrecht Goetze und Günther Pflaum (München, 1970), pp.44-51. Wirtembergisches Repertorium, zweites Stück (Stuttgart, 1782), pp.218-19.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

ing this essay, Schiller also contributed to it. According to Julius Petersen, the Latin inscriptions which accompany Atzel's architectural designs for the memorials were the work of Schiller, who had become acquainted with Atzel at the military academy: Ein ideenreicher Künstler [=Atzel] beschäftigte sich im Jahre 1781 mit Entwürfen von Denkmälern, die großen Deutschen gesetzt werden sollten. Um Inschriften auf diese Denkmäler ersuchte er seinen vertrauten Bekannten Schiller, und dieser dichtete dann die vier folgenden. Sie sind zwar schon gedruckt, aber in einer Zeitschrift, die außerhalb Württemberg nur wenig bekannt geworden ist. Auch wußte die Lesewelt Q nicht, daß diese Inschriften Schillern zum Verfasser haben.

According to Eduard Boas, Schiller had composed Latin inscriptions for other garden memorials,9 and this is quite probable considering Atzel's assertion at the end of his essay that he had designed memorials for, among others, Charlemagne, Herzog Ernst von Gotha, Franz von Sickingen, Melanchthon, Leibniz, Thomasius, Spener and Lambert. However, Atzel's promise that these designs would be published in a later edition of the Wirtembergisches Repertorium was never fulfilled.

II. Don Carlos We have seen that in the late 1770s and early 1780s, Schiller dislikes the French garden and shows an interest in the English garden. In Don Carlos, the two aspects of this polarised attitude come together to provide the structural principle of the play. As I shall demonstrate, the polarisation of the French and English styles in garden design permeates the whole structure of the play, providing the basis for setting, characterisation and imagery. The version of the play that I shall discuss is the 'Ur-Don Karlos', 10 encompassing the largely neglected Thalia fragments, published in several instalments in Schiller's journal Thalia between 178S and 1787 and discontinued at III.9, and the Buchfassung of 1787, in which the



'Kleine Mannigfaltigkeiten' von J. W. Petersen, Morgenblatt filr gebildete Stände, Tübingen, 8 November 1809, p.1068. Schiller's Jugendjahre, herausgegeben von Wendelin von Maitzahn, 2 vols (Hannover, 1856), H, 235. The phrase is Paul Böckmann's, Schillers Don Karlos: Edition der ursprünglichen Fassung und entstehungsgeschichtlicher Kommentar von Paul Böckmann, Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft, 3 0 (Stuttgart, 1974), p.9. All quotations from the play will be drawn from this edition.

Don Carlos


Thalia fragments were completed.11 It is in this early, unpruned version that the röle of the contrast between the French and the English garden in determining the structure of the play comes over most strongly. In the Thalia fragments, the royal gardens of Aranjuez contain as two distinct sections a French and an English garden. The stage directions for 1.1 describe what is clearly a French garden with its 'Orangenalleen, Boskagen, Statuen, Urnen, springende Wasser' and the 'Statue der Biblis und des Kaunus' (p. 13). Don Carlös explains that this garden is the creation of the King of Spain, Philipp II: 'Dies Paradies rief Euer großer König / in eine fürchterliche Wildnis her' (1.1. 38). In contrast, 1.3 opens with the Queen, Elisabeth, doing some ladylike gardening in an Englishstyle garden complete with hermitage: 'Die Königin pflegte sich die meiste Zeit, daß der Hof zu Aranjuez war, in einer Eremitage aufzuhalten, die sie vorzüglich liebte' (p.36). This is the Queen's favourite haunt, for here she can escape from the artificiality of the court to the sincerity and intimacy of Nature: Wie schön ists hier - wie heizlich - wie vertraulich hieher - so scheint es - hat sich die Natur vor den Verfolgungen der Kunst geflüchtet. In unbelauschter Freiheit wohnt sie da, von wenigen empfunden. (1.4. 666)

She shows how completely she identifies with her English garden when she addresses it as 'meine ländliche Natur' (1.4. 679, my emphasis), and, like Lady Milford in Kabale und Liebe, she associates the contrasting French style in garden design with political despotism, making an analogy between the restriction of individual freedom in Philipp 's court and the regimentation of symmetrical rows of hedges and trees in the ornamental French garden. Addressing Posa, who has just described Philipp's garden as the 'achtes Erdenwunder' (1.4. 674), she tells him: Bewundern Sie die glatten Buchenwände, der Bäume banges Zeremoniell, die starr und steif, und zierlich wie sein Hof, in trauriger Parade um mich gähnen. (1.4. 675) ' ' The 1805 version is usually regarded as the only authentic version of the play. See Gerhard Kluge, 'Edition und Interpretation von Schillers Don Kariös', in Edition und Interpretation Edition et Interprétation des Manuscrits Littéraires, Akten des deutschfranzösischen EditorenkoUoquiums Berlin 1979, herausgegeben von Louis Hay und Winfried Woesler, Jahrbuch für internationale Germanistik, Reihe A: Kongreßberichte, 11 (Bern, 1981), pp .224-32.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

Yet such is the happiness and contentment which she feels in her garden that here she can even forgive Philipp for mutilating Nature: o wie gerne verzeih ich hier dem König sein gerühmtes Aranjuez - die prächtige Verstümmlung der Werke Gottes. (1.4. 6 7 0 )

In the shortened version of 1.1 in the Buchfassung, all references to the splendour of Philipp's French garden are excised. However, in the new version of 1.4 in the Buchfassung, the polarity between the court and Nature is still present and is used as a means of characterisation. In direct contrast with the Queen, whose melancholy at leaving her 'einfache ländliche Gegend' (p. 352) at Aranjuez is evident, the Princess Eboli is oveijoyed that they will soon be returning to Madrid, for she finds Nature boring: Wie einsam aber, wie tot und traurig ist es hier! Man glaubt sich in la Trappe. (1.3. 2 0 2 )

Similarly, the Marquise Mondekar looks forward to the entertainment of a bullfight and the autodafé in Madrid, activities which inspire only dread and revulsion in the Queen. The influence of Rousseauian ideas is apparent in Schiller's association of the Queen's 'natural' values with the natural type of garden, for she is so attached to her garden because she is herself a 'natural' character. Her naturalness is shown by the fact that she is dismayed at only being allowed to see her daughter at certain fixed times of the day (1.3. 261-66). It is also revealed by the value which she places on the free expression of emotion, friendship, and love and the ability to shed tears. The contrast between the English and the French garden is thus endowed with moral overtones, for the ability to express emotions and shed tears is associated with virtue, and coldness of heart with despotism and inhumanity: 'die ewige / Beglaubigung der Menschheit sind j a Tränen, / Sein [=Philipps] Aug ist trocken, ihn gebar kein Weib' (II.3. 1456). Don Carlos' justification of tears must be contrasted with the horrified reaction of the courtiers when Philipp weeps after having been deceived by Posa: "Das / ist teufelisch. / Der König hat / geweint' (IV.26. 6027).

Don Carbs


The association of friendship and emotion with the English garden, reminiscent of the technique which Miller employed in Siegwart,12 is reinforced by the fact that it is in her garden that the Queen longs for her native land and for a friend in whom she can confide. Isolated from other human beings at court by her high rank, it is again only in her garden that she can speak freely to Posa and articulate her horror of court etiquette and political despotism. And when Posa tells her of Don Carlos' love for her, she does not conceal her emotions: 'Die Königin, von dem lebhaftesten Anteil dahingerissen, verrät die Empfindungen ihres Herzens' (pp.38-39). Don Carlos too regards the Queen's garden as a refuge for sensitive souls, where deeply held emotions can be voiced (1.5. 710-15). In contrast, he conceals his feelings when talking to the courtier Domingo in the French garden in 1.1, and the magnificence of the garden does nothing to dispel his melancholy. The willingness of the characters to express their feelings in the Queen's garden is contrasted with the breakdown of communication at the court. Here, truth and sincerity are shown to be absent, and the verb 'verstummen' constantly recurs. This contrast is expressed in a striking image in II. 3, in which Don Carlos reinforces the connection between sincerity and a natural landscape and insincerity and the French garden. He urges his father to trust him, for his show of affection wells up spontaneously from his heart like a natural spring, while the courtiers' hearts resemble murky, stagnant pools of water which, like the water in the ornamental fountains in Philipp's garden, can only be animated by the artificial means of Philipp's wealth: Sie wollen Liebe? - hier in diesem Busen springt eine Quelle, frischer, feuriger, als in den trüben, sumpfigten Behältern, die Philipps Gold erst öffnen muß. (1498) 1 3


As Caroline von Wolzogen reports, Schiller clearly enjoyed the sentimental emotionalism of Siegwart in his youth: 'Auch Siegwait hatte sich eingeschlichen. Dieses einfache, herzvolle Gemälde der schönen Jugendliebe zog Schillern sehr an. Er sagte uns, daß er oft am einsamen vergitterten Fenster Ober seinen Lilien, die er in Scherben an demselben zog, stundenlang in den von diesem Buche erweckten Gefühlen 13 geschwärmt habe' (p.16). In m . 7 , Philipp also associates truth with a natural spring: Ich brauche Wahrheit - ihre stille Quelle im dunkeln Schutt des Irrtums aufzugraben, ist nicht das Los der Könige. (4073)


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

While the Queen's love of personal freedom and the naturalness of her character are shown in her reverence for Nature and her love of the solitude and peace of her English gairden, Philipp's contrasting political philosophy is depicted through his preference for the French garden, for just as he takes no account of the freedom and dignity of the individual human being, so he treats Nature in an arbitrary and despotic fashion. Moreover, for him, Nature is merely a tool to serve his needs. In his French garden he has manipulated and enslaved Nature, forcing it to become a mere adjunct to his court and a reflection of the power and splendour of his empire. During a sleepless night, he even insists that Nature, in the sense of the natural rhythms of the days and seasons, should alter its course to suit his whims: Ich bin um meinen Schlummer. Bescheide dich, Natur. Ein König hat nicht Zeit, verlorne Nächte nachzuholen, jetzt bin ich wach und Tag soll sein. (m.3. 3564)

He also arrogantly assumes Nature's sympathy with his aims, as is shown when he thanks Nature for endowing him with the energy to sow death and destruction in his old age: 'Habe Dank, Natur. Ich fühle / in meinen Sehnen Jünglingskraft' (V.9. 6720). The arbitrary manner in which Philipp treats Nature is thus symptomatic of his unnatural behaviour, which is most strikingly revealed in V.IO, when at the Grand Inquisitor's insistence that it is legitimate to kill one's own son, Philipp denies the voice of Nature, placing himself outside its jurisdiction, just as when he announced in his warning to the Queen that he would not show her any mercy if she had deceived him with Don Carlos: 'Ich ehre keine Sitte / und keine Stimme der Natur mehr' (IV.9. 5273). In contrast with the Queen, who seeks out Nature at every opportunity,14 Philipp has in every sense lost touch with Nature. The polarisation of the French and the English garden also determines the use of organic metaphors in the play. 15 The characters who take Nature 14


H. B. Garland rightly argues that the Queen is the representative of Nature in the play: Schiller the Dramatic Writer: A Study of Style in the Plays (Oxford, 1969), pp.132-33. Allan G. Blunden, 'Nature and Politics in Schiller's Don Carlos', DVLG, 52 (1978), 241-56, Frank M. Fowler, 'The Dramatic Image: Observations on the Drama with Examples from Schiller and Lessing', in Tradition and Creation: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Mary Wilkinson, edited by C. P. Magill, B. A. Rowley and C. J. Smith (Leeds, 1978), pp.63-76 (pp.69-71) and Garland, Schiller the Dramatic Writer, pp. 131-37, are right to stress the importance of the organic metaphors for the themes

Don Carlos


as their guide and follow the voice of the heart are associated with metaphors of natural growth and development, while the characters who are most at home in the conspiratorial atmosphere of the court are associated with forced and unnatural growth or even with the crushing and withering of fertility, the logical conclusion of the French garden creators' attitude to Nature. When Posa warns Don Carlos to beware of Princess Eboli because of her love of intrigue, he likens her virtue to an exotic greenhouse plant which is the product of forced, rather than natural, growth: Wie wenig reicht sie [=Ebolis Tugend] empor zu jenem Ideale das aus der Seele mütterlichem Boden, in stolzer, schöner Grazie empfangen, freiwillig sproßt und ohne Gärtners Hilfe verschwenderische Blüten treibt. Es ist ein fremder Zweig, mit nachgeahmtem Süd in einem rauhern Himmelstrich getrieben. (HI.2. 3344)

Eboli is also described by Domingo as the agent by which the Queen's growth will be arrested: 'Jene Lilien / von Valois zerknickt ein spansches Mädchen' (11.13. 3018). 1 6 Philipp too is associated with premature destruction. He expresses his insatiable desire for revenge on Posa with the image of scorched earth, where the fertility of Nature will be destroyed for several generations: Ich will ihn nützen, diesen Abend, dafi nach mir kein Pflanzer mehr in zehen Menschenaltern auf dieser Brandstatt ernten soll. (V.9. 6727)

and characterisation of the play. In contrast, Graham Orton sees these metaphors as having only a vaguely musical function: Schiller: Don Carlos, Studies in German Literature, 8 (London, 1967), p.53. Ursula Wertheim quite rightly sees the Frenchwoman Elisabeth and the Spaniard Eboli as representing the antithesis between Nature and Art: Schillers Flesko und Don Carlos: Zum Problem des historischen Stoffes, Beiträge zur deutschen Klassik, 7 (Weimar, 1958), p.132. See also Bärbel Becker-Cantarino, 'Die "Schwarze Legende". Ideal und Ideologie in Schillers Don Carlos', JFDH (1975), 153-73 (p.159) and Peter Schäublin, 'Don Carlos und die Königin: Ein Beitrag zur Interpretation von Schillers Don Carlos', GRM, 54 (1973), 302-20 (p.304).


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

And Posa emphasises the repressive nature of Philipp's regime with the image of sterility: 'Sie wollen pflanzen fur die Ewigkeit, / und säen Tod?' (III.IO. 4586). In a complete distortion of the natural process where seeds sprout and grow, Philipp sows death, not life. In contrast, the Queen, Don Carlos and Posa are all associated with growth and fertility. The Queen delights in the triumph of Nature over Art in her garden (1.4. 667-68), and Don Carlos even expresses the hope that Posa's vision of a better future will eventually be realised with the image of his remains as a fertiliser: 'Uber seiner Asche blühe / ein Paradies!' (V.ll. 6956). For Posa, Don Carlos is his 'schöne Pflanzung' (IV.24. 5804), the plant which will flourish and bring his political ideals to fruition after his death. Moreover, in his impassioned plea to Philipp to allow his subjects freedom of thought, Posa bases his ideal political state on the model of free growth in Nature, challenging Philipp's absolutism by arguing that his regime constitutes an 'Unselige / Verdrehung der Natur' (III.IO. 4506). 17 He urges Philipp to establish a political constitution which takes the untrammelled freedom of the natural realm as its model: Sehen Sie sich um in seiner [=Gottes] herrlichen Natur. Auf Freiheit ist sie gegründet - und wie reich ist sie durch Freiheit! Er, der große Schöpfer, wirft in einen Tropfen Tau den Wurm, und läßt noch in den toten Räumen der Verwesung die Willkür sich ergetzen - Ihre Schöpfung, wie eng und arm! (m.lO. 4626) 18

His vision of an ideal political state is based on the naturalness which was the model for the English garden, as opposed to Philipp's existing regime,


Compare the Queen's description of Philipp's French garden as 'die prächtige Verstümmlung / der Werke Gottes' (1.4. 672). In the light of Posa's enthusiasm for Nature, it is surprising that in Letter 11 of the Briefe über Don Carlos of 1788, Schiller should insist that he is using Posa to demonstrate the dangers inherent in human behaviour which is not guided by natural feeling (XXII, 172). As Lesley Sharpe notes, the accusation that Posa pursues an 'unnatural' course of action cannot be reconciled with the content of the play, in which Posa is the champion of Nature and of free and natural growth: 'Literature as Historical Evidence: Schiller's Don Carlos', The Journal of the German History Society, 4 (1987), 16-22 (p.22).

Don Carlos


which bears the same characteristics as the French garden.19 Clearly, therefore, the double setting of the royal gardens of Aranjuez plays an important rôle in the characterisation, political thought and metaphorical structure of the play. In fact, Schiller endows the setting with much more significance than any of the historical source works which he used. The Abbé de Saint-Réal states that Don Carlos revealed his feelings for the Queen in a 'petit bois d'orangers' behind the Spanish court's rural retreat at the monastery of Saint-Just, and not in an English garden at Aranjuez as we find in Schiller's version. 20 And the Seigneur de Brantôme refers only once to Aranjuez in the context of the rhyme which Don Carlos had written to mock his father's journeys between his country residences: 'Los grandes y admirabiles Viajes del Rey Dom Philippe: El Viaje de Madrid al Pardo, del Pardo a l'Escurial, de l'Escurial a Aranjuez.' 21 Moreover, Schiller does not merely deviate from the sources in his choice of Aranjuez as the setting for his play. There is no correlative in the source material for his mode of depiction of Aranjuez, so subjective is he in his treatment of the Don Carlos material. Although historically this belongs to the second half of the sixteenth century, Posa's great plea in III. lO owes its character to eighteenth-century ideas, in particular to the thought of Rousseau and Montesquieu. Similarly, Schiller ignores the fact that historically, the English gardai was a product of the new feeling for Nature in the eighteenth century and thus did not exist in the sixteenth. He accordingly makes the Queen the advocate of the Rousseauian ideals admired by the Nature-lovers of the late eighteenth century in contrast with the values of French Classicism which served as the theoretical basis for French garden design. That the Queen is the mouthpiece for Rousseauian rather than sixteenth-century values is confirmed by her attitude towards the hermitage in her garden. There were hermitages in sixteenth-century formal gardens, 19

Blunden has made the same point, although much more tentatively: 'That ideal state which Posa envisages will be "natural* in the sense that force and coercion will be absent, growth will freely flourish, and the monarch will be no more than a benevolent gardener, whose taste in gardens will probably tend to the natural English rather than 20 the formal French' (p.249, my emphasis). Dom Carlos. Nouvelle Historique (Amsterdam, 1673), pp.25-29. In Jean Louis Sébastien de Mercier's play the Queen and Don Carlos also meet in a wood near the monastery of Saint-Just: Portrait de Philippe II, Roi d'Espagne (Amsterdam, 1785), p.l. Oeuvres du Seigneur de Brantôme, Nouvelle Édition, Considérablement Augmentée, et accompagnée de Remarques Historiques et Critiques, 15 vols (La Haye, 1740), V, 132-33.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

but they had a completely different function from those in eighteenthcentury sentimental gardens, as Erich Bachmann points out: 'Während die Eremitagen in den romanischen Ländern, vor allem unter Ludwig XIV. zum Schauplatz eines galanten Spiels werden, gewinnen sie in Deutschland unter dem Einfluß der Vorromantik und des Pietismus eine neue Bedeutung als Orte des einsamen kontemplativen Lebens in der Wildnis und der Reflexionen über das Urchristentum und die Vergänglichkeit.'22 Schiller is thus using the hermitage in the eighteenth-century pre-Romantic manner and not in its sixteenth-century courtly sense, since the Queen sees her hermitage as a welcome retreat from the superficiality, restriction and formality of the court. But if Schiller's depiction of Aranjuez was not based on his historical sources, what was its basis? It is possible that at least the French part was based on Giuseppe Baretti's eye-witness account of Aranjuez,23 which describes a formal garden complete with fountains, statues and artificial waterfalls. However, although this account is cited at length by Hirschfeld (Th,1,49-50), Schiller never refers to it in his correspondence and there is thus no concrete evidence that he was acquainted with it. And since the English part could not have had any foundation in Aranjuez, scholars have turned to the idea that his source for both parts may have been German. It has thus been assumed that Schiller's model for Aranjuez was a German garden, and the uncertainty as to its identity has fuelled much critical debate. E. L. Stahl suggests that Schiller was so impressed by Schwetzingen that he took it as the model, with the 'Badhaus' at Schwetzingen becoming the Queen's hermitage at Aranjuez.24 In contrast, Johannes Proelß argues that he modelled the Queen's hermitage on the 'Köhlerhütte' in the Hohenheim garden, and Philipp's formal garden on the gardens at Solitude and Ludwigsburg.25 Like Proelß, Friedrich Kittler too sees the English garden at Aranjuez as Hohenheim, and links the play so closely with Schiller's own experience that he regards Don Carlos as representing Schiller himself, Philipp as representing Karl Eugen and the Queen Franziska von Hohenheim. He points out that both the Queen and



'Anfänge des Landschaftsgaitens in Deutschland', Zeitschrift JUr Kunstwissenschaft, 5 (1951), 203-28 (p.207). Reisen von London nach Genua durch England, Portugal, Spanien und Frankreich, von Joseph Baretti, aus dem Englischen, 2 vols (Leipzig, 1772), I, 411-25. E. L. Stahl, Die klassische Zeit des Mannheimer Theaters: Das Europäische Mannheim (Mannheim, 1940), pp.277-80 (p.279). 'Schiller in Hohenheim', in Marbacher Schillerbuch, vol.2 (Stuttgart und Berlin, 1907), pp.126-78 (pp.159-60).

Don Carlos


Franziska love English parks and share the same desire to escape from the formality of court life to a simple, rustic setting, while Philipp and Karl Eugen prefer French parks. 26 Certainly, Franziska von Hohenheim had as much affection for her favourite retreat of the 'Kolhitl' in the 'Dörfle' at Hohenheim as the Queen has for her hermitage at Aranjuez, as a cursory perusal of her diary is sufficient to show. 27 Both interpretations are possible. Schiller passed through Schwetzingen in 1782 after he fled from Stuttgart, and he also spent the summer months of 1785 in Schwetzingen. 28 The announcement in 1784 of the themes which he intended to treat in his journal, the Rheinische Thalia, also gives some indication of his interest in Schwetzingen: 'Schöne Natur und schöne Kunst in der Pfalz. - Reisende, besonders aus dem nordischen Deutschland, haben uns beides beneidet und die merkwürdigen Gegenden am Rhein wie die herrlichen Monumente der Kunst mit Bewunderung verlassen. Die glückliche Lage von Heidelberg, der ehrwürdige Ruin seines Schlosses, der Garten zu Schwetzingen, . . . bleiben auch noch in der Schilderung interessant' (XXII,95-96). Most importantly, Schwetzingen was similar stylistically to Schiller's Aranjuez in that it was originally a French garden, to which an English garden was later added by the garden designer Ludwig Sckell. Equally, though, it is true that Schiller visited Hohenheim on several occasions before he fled from Stuttgart in 1782. And in the early 1780s he was familiar with several English gardens which could have provided the model for the Queen's hermitage. Seifersdorf, for example, had a 'Hütte der Einsamkeit' and a temple dedicated to the joys of rural life, 29 while Weimar park also contained a hermitage. In fact, nearly all English gardens contained hermitages. It is therefore impossible to prove which, if any, garden Schiller had in mind when he created Aranjuez. But proving that he followed a particular model would in any case not increase our understanding of the play: what matters is not to establish a definite model, but to recognise the dramatic


28 29

'Carlos als Carlsschüler: Ein Familiengemälde in einem fürstlichen Hause', in Unser Commercium: Goethes und Schillers Literaturpolitik, herausgegeben von Wilfried Barner, Eberhard Lämmert, Norbert Oellers, Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft, 42 (Stuttgart, 1984), pp.241-73 (pp.260-61). Tagbuch der Gräfin Franziska von Hohenheim späteren Herzogin von Württemberg, Im Auftrag des Württemberg. Geschichts- und Altertumsvereins herausgegeben von A. Osterberg, Faksimile-Ausgabe mit einem Vorwort von Peter Lanstein (Reutlingen, 1981). See also Schiller's letter to Henriette von Wolzogen of 11 August 1783, in which he mentions a planned excursion to Schwetzingen. See Becker, pp.69-72 and pp.89-93.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

functions which the garden fulfils. The debate over the model is only helpful in that it encourages us to establish the extent of Schiller's familiarity with the English garden at this time and shows that the sentimental associations of the hermitage and the English garden, dear to a whole generation of Germans, also found favour with Schiller at the time of writing the Thalia fragments. However, it was not just the sentimental associations of the English garden which found favour with Schiller, for the length of the first version of Don Carlos suggests that his sympathies in the 1780s also lay with its underlying principle, unrestricted natural growth. Despite the promptings of his publisher Göschen and the theatre director Schröder to present the play in a form more suitable for theatrical production, Schiller was unwilling to prune his work. In letters to Göschen and Schröder of 5 December 1786 and 18 December 1786 respectively, he is determined to justify the ungainly shape of his work, contrasting the formal rules of drama, restriction and pruning unfavourably with the products of 'Genie', literary works which are subject to no other laws than those of natural, organic growth: Er [=der Karlos] wird zu 22 biß 23 Bogen anwachßen, weil es ein ganzes Tableau seyn soll (Jonas,I,318). Ausserdem glaube ich überzeugt zu seyn, daß ein Dichter dem die Bühne, fur die er schreibt, immer gegenwärtig ist, sehr leicht versucht werden kann, der augenblicklichen Wirkung den daurenden Gehalt aufzuopfern, Classicität dem Glänze vollends wenn er in meinem Fall ist und noch über gewisse Manieren und Regeln sich nicht bestimmt hat. Und dann, glauben Sie mir auch gewinnt mein Enthousiasmus für die Schauspielkunst dadurch sehr, wenn ich mir die glückliche Illusion bewahren kann, welche wegfällt sobald Coulissen und papierne Wände mich unter der Arbeit an meine Granzen erinnern. Besser ist es immer wenn der erste Wurf ganz frei u. kühn geschehen kann (Jonas,1,320).

And in a footnote in Heft 3 of the Thalia, he defiantly declares that his work cannot become a stage play and that it would be wrong to force its free form into the restricting straitjacket of the laws of the theatre: 'Man würde der Poesie eine große Provinz entziehen, wenn man den handelnden Dialog auf die Gesetze der Schaubühne einschränken wollte' (p.372). Schiller's enthusiasm in the early 1780s for the English, as opposed to the French, garden is thus apparent not just from his association of the Queen's garden at Aranjuez with virtue, simplicity and sincerity and with political liberalism; it is evident even in the form of Don Carlos. The Rousseauian ideas of the time were no doubt sufficient to ensure that Schiller favoured the English style in garden design over the French style. But, in addition to them, it seems probable that the formative experience

Der versöhnte Menschenfeind


of Karl Eugen's despotism and the lavish life style of the court based on the exploitation of his subjects would have directed Schiller's sympathies towards the English rather than the French garden design which the Duke favoured.

III. Der versöhnte Menschenfeind Schiller's uncompleted dramatic fragment, Der versöhnte Menschenfeind, begun in Dresden in 1786, continued in Weimar in 1788 and finally published as a fragment of eight prose-scenes in Heft 11 of the Thalia in December 1790, represents a change in Schiller's attitude towards the English garden. As we have seen, his view of it in Don Carlos is wholly positive. However, in his depiction of misanthropy in Der versöhnte Menschenfeind, the problematic aspects of the English garden begin to emerge. As Hanna H. Marks rightly comments, the fragment is often overlooked by critics: 'Das Menschenfeind-Fragment ist ein Stiefkind der Schiller-Forschung. ' 3 0 When it is considered, it is generally dismissed as a 'bürgerliches Familiengemälde' in the sentimental mould of the plays of Schröder, Iffland and Kotzebue. Herbert Cysarz refers to it dismissively as 'der Rührstück-Torso' and to the main character, von Hutten, as 'ein Philipp im Schlafrock, im Kotzebue-Stil'.31 Similarly, for Oskar Walzel, the fragment moves only 'in den Bahnen des Familienstücks und seiner feststehenden, dem Publikum der Zeit unentbehrlichen Effekte'. 32 And William Witte comments that 'the characters of Der Menschenfeind seem to have stepped straight out of the stagy world of the comédie larmoyante'.33 In addition, the fragment is usually dismissed as inconsequential, as Schiller's last attempt at writing a play before the decade in which he devoted himself exclusively to the study of philosophy and history. Calvin Thomas describes it as being initially 'of excellent promise', but dismisses the published fragment of 1790 as being 'certainly

30 31 32 33

'Der Menschenfeind', in Schillers Dramen: Neue Interpretationen, herausgegeben von Walter Hinderer (Stuttgart, 1979), pp.109-25 (p.109). Schiller (Halle, 1934), p.137. SA, Vn.xlii. Schiller (Oxford, 1949), p.xiii. See also Gerhard Storz, Der Dichter Friedrich Schiller, dritte, um einen Anhang erweiterte Auflage (Stuttgart, 1963), p.164.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

of no great account'. 34 Storz sees no justification whatsoever for Schiller's high opinion of it as expressed in a letter to Göschen of 3 March 1787, and compares it very unfavourably with Der Geisterseher.35 In his Schiller monograph of 1967, Staiger dismisses the plot as 'absurd' (p.278), and Kate Hamburger describes Schiller's decision to publish the fragment in the Thalia as proof that his faculty of self-criticism had failed to function in this particular case.36 Although Der versöhnte Menschenfeind does have weaknesses as a play, it is of significance for an understanding of Schiller's thought. Whereas the majority of critics have stressed that the fragment is merely a trivial and inconsequential 'bürgerliches Familiengemälde', I wish to shift the focus of attention by showing that it is a work which is revealing about his attitude towards Nature: its main theme of melancholic misanthropy is closely linked with modern Man's feeling for Nature and questions of garden design. The fragment should not be dismissed out of hand, for in it Schiller is making a serious comment about the problems which can arise when modern Man seeks out Nature in the form of the English garden. The setting of Der Menschenfeind is a large country estate which has been transformed into a landscape garden. The first scene takes place in an area of von Hutten's estate, and the fact that this is a garden setting is underlined by the appearance of the gardener Biber, who has brought some flowers for von Hutten's daughter Angelika. Biber describes how he had drained a marsh in order to plant a magnificent nursery of a few thousand trees on the reclaimed land (V,137). And some idea of the magnificence of the garden can be gauged from Biber's comment that improvements to von Hutten's estate cost him two thousand Thalers each year (V,138). In scene 2, Angelika refers to these landscape improvements when she speaks of the care and attention which her father has lavished on her, for he wishes to show his affection for her by means of the magnificence of the garden which he has created for her pleasure: 'Er gab mir ja alles. Selbst für die Freuden des Lebens erstorben, was hat er nicht getan, um mir sie zu schenken? Mir zur Lust schuf er diese Gegend zum Paradies, und ließ alle Künste wetteifern, das Herz seiner Angelika zu entzücken und ihren Geist zu veredeln. Ich bin eine Königin in diesem Gebiet' (V,140). 34 35 36

The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller (New York, 1906), p.175 and p.225. Der Dichter Friedrich Schiller, p. 163. 'Schillers Fragment Der Menschenfeind und die Idee der Kalokagathie', DVLG, 3 0 (1956), 367-400 (p.367).

Der versöhnte Menschenfeind


And in scene 6, the villagers refer to the creation of the landscape garden by their feudal overlord in terms similar to those used by Angelika as they express their gratitude to him: 'Und diese Blumen streuen wir Ihnen, weil Sie unsre Wildnis zum Paradies gemacht haben' (V,147, my emphasis). These descriptions of von Hutten's estate suggest that it is likely to have been a French garden. The model of the formal garden at Solitude, where in 1775 his father became the head-gardener, may thus well have been in Schiller's mind when he had Biber speak of the nursery he had planted. It was his father who, having himself published a book on arboriculture, the Betrachtungen über landwirtschaftliche Dinge in dem Herzogtum Württemberg (1767), organised the planting of a nursery of four thousand fruit trees in the garden. In addition, Karl Eugen had had eight hundred acres of woodland cleared to make way for Solitude, and it was well known that he lavished huge amounts of money on the laying out of the garden. There is also a clear linguistic parallel between Angelika 's and the villagers' description of the creation of the garden and Lady Milford's reference in Kabale und Liebe to the Herzog's penchant for the magnificent in garden design, which too is no doubt an allusion to Solitude: 'Er ruft Paradiese aus Wildnissen' (V,26). Moreover, the motivation on the part of both von Hutten and the Herzog is the same: to inspire affection and allegiance in Angelika and Lady Milford respectively through the spectacle of magnificence in Nature. 37 In his portrayal of the French-style garden in the Menschenfeind fragment Schiller stresses its inadequacies. Just as the Herzog's ability to conjure up magnificent gardens out of natural wildernesses fails to make Lady Milford feel love for him, so the splendour of von Hutten's garden fails to satisfy Angelika. She may reign in von Hutten's garden like a queen, but this does not prevent her from seeking fulfilment elsewhere, in her love for Rosenberg, and from rebelling against von Hutten's express wishes by longing to experience the world beyond the limits of the country estate. It is also significant that von Hutten himself feels no affection for the garden on which he has spent a small fortune. On several occasions in scene 1, Biber complains to Angelika that von Hutten never looks at the flowers or the nursery in his garden. He is concerned that all von Hutten's 37

In his essay 'Zur Schillerforschung', Euphorion, 6 (1899), 536-44 (p.538), Otto Hamack argues that Schiller took Solitude as his model for von Hutten's landscape garden. However, as I have already established with regard to the setting of Don Carlos, the interest in an actual source is an outmoded one. My point is that there are sufficient parallels between Solitude and von Hutten's garden to suggest that Schiller had a French garden in mind here.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

money has been wasted, for his garden brings him no pleasure: 'Der Park kostet ihm, Jahr aus Jahr ein, seine baren zweitausend Taler, und ich werde bezahlt, wie ich's nicht verdiene. Wozu nütz' ich denn, wenn ich dem Herrn für sein vieles Geld nicht einmal eine fröhliche Stunde gebe?' (V, 138).38 In contrast, in scene 7, von Hutten does seek refuge and consolation in Nature. In the previous scene he had shown his misanthropy by rebuffing the villagers when they came to his castle to thank him for his benevolence. Despite their manifest goodness, von Hutten declares that he has no respect for them, for they have not advanced beyond their lowly, servile status in spite of his efforts to improve their material condition. Overwhelmed by a sombre vision of the degeneracy of culture and the imperfection of Man, he flees, not to the lavish splendour of the nursery and his formal garden, but, as the stage setting indicates, to an isolated area of his country estate which expresses the elegiac and melancholy mood so pervasive in the English garden: 'Eine abgelegene Gegend des Parks, ringsum eingeschlossen, von anziehendem, etwas schwermütigem Charakter' (V,150). Prompted by the sight of the simplicity of Nature, von Hutten contrasts the degeneracy of culture and Man's imperfection with the perfection of Nature. In an extended monologue, he describes how Nature is in harmony with itself, follows a regular pattern, has inner necessity and strives for the most perfect and beautiful form, while Man is a blight upon the harmonious universe and impeccable divine plan. Man, who emerged perfect from the hands of the creator, has destroyed his perfection through his passions and has perverted the aims of Nature by falling prey to the vices of greed and immoderation: Von keinem Auge ausgespäht, von keinem Verstände bewundert ringt in der schweigenden Muschel die Perle, ringt der Kristall in den Tiefen der Berge nach der schönsten Gestalt. Wohin nur dein Auge blickt, der einstimmige Fleiß aller Wesen, das Geheimnis der Kräfte zur Verkündigung zu bringen. Dankbar tragen alle Kinder der Natur der zufriedenen Mutter die gereiften Früchte entgegen, und wo sie gesäet hat, findet sie eine Ernte. - Du allein, ihr liebster, ihr beschenktester Sohn, bleibst aus, - nur was die dir gab, findet sie nicht wieder, erkennt sie in seiner entstellten Schönheit nicht mehr. (V.150-51)

Nature plays an important role in this scene: its perfection prompts von Hutten to articulate his misanthropy, and its peaceful presence provides T5

Compare 1.1 of the Thalia version of Don Carlos, where the splendour of the French garden at Aranjuez does nothing to dispel Don Carlos' melancholy.

Der versöhnte Menschenfeind


him with the consolation which he needs in the face of his pessimistic vision of the human world. He is clearly oveijoyed at the sight of Nature and sees it as a welcome refuge: 'Zu dir flüchte ich dieses liebende Herz' (V,151). He calls upon it to act as his mentor and to teach him how to acquire its serene equanimity: 'Lehre mich deine Genügsamkeit, deinen ruhigen Gleichmut, Natur!' (V,151). Turning away from the human world with an overwhelming sense of malaise, von Hutten finds comfort in the quiet beauty of this isolated area of his estate. Hanna Marks and Käte Hamburger stress the close parallels between von Hutten's praise of Nature and that of the enthusiastic Nature-lover Theocles in Shaftesbury's The Moralists.39 However, there are even closer parallels between this scene and the ideas of Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. Although the Menschenfeind fragment was written several years before Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, it can be seen as anticipating the treatise, for many of the ideas in the latter are already latent in the former. In Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, Schiller sees misanthropic feelings as being the mark of the idealist, while love of his fellow men is the mark of the realist: 'Jener [ = der Realist] beweist sich als Menschenfreund, ohne eben einen sehr hohen Begriff von den Menschen und der Menschheit zu haben; dieser [=der Idealist] denkt von der Menschheit so groß, daß er darüber in Gefahr kommt, die Menschen zu verachten' (XX,498). In the terms of the treatise, von Hutten is the prototype of idealistic 'sentimental' Man, whose awareness that modern Man falls far short of the idea of humanity in its perfection leaves him so embittered and disillusioned that he feels a desperate need to flee from the human realm to seek out the consoling presence of Nature. Nevertheless, von Hutten's association with this isolated area of his estate is not unproblematic, for although it brings him comfort in the face of the degeneracy of modern culture, it does nothing to dispel his melancholy. His contact with Nature and his experience of its harmony and perfection initially prompt him to urge Man to seek perfection: 'Sei vollkommen! Zahllose Harmonien schlummern in dir, auf dein Geheiß zu erwachen - rufe sie heraus durch deine Vortrefflichkeit!' (V,151). However, ultimately the landscape merely relaxes and does not energise, for instead of attempting to combine Nature's equanimity with Man's prerogative of reason, von Hutten merely wants to abandon culture completely and share Nature's unconsciousness: 'Laß mich deine glückliche Blindheit mit dir teilen' (V,151). Von Hutten's feeling for Nature 39 Marks, p.117 and Hamburger, 'Schillers Fragment', p.372.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

does not fulfil the conditions of the true feeling for Nature as expressed in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, for he wants to shun all contact with the human world and seek permanent refuge in this isolated area of his estate, as is shown when he begs Nature to serve as a protective barrier between him and the human world: 'Verbirg mir in deinem stillen Frieden die Welt, die mein Wirken empfängt. . . . tritt zwischen meine Menschlichkeit und den Menschen. - Hier, wo mir seine rauhe Hand nicht begegnet, wo die feindselige Wahrheit meinen entzückten Traum nicht verscheucht, abgeschieden von dem Geschlechte, laß mich die heilige Pflicht meines Daseins in die Hand meiner großen Mutter, an die ewige Schönheit entrichten' (V, 151-52). Because this landscape does not have a sufficiently energising influence on von Hutten, he remains the caricature of the 'sentimental' genius, prone to 'Uberspannung' and 'Phantasterei', for he has no intention of anchoring the ideal of perfect humanity in reality, but merely wishes to sever all connections with his fellow human beings and abandon reality completely. The fact that Schiller did not complete the fragment does not mean that he abandoned interest in the problem. The reason for non-completion lay in the nature of the situation which he had created, for von Hutten 's misanthropy is too general a notion for dramatic treatment, being the result, not so much of the personal experience of the world to which he refers obliquely in scene 8, as of the contrast between the ideal harmony of Nature and the imperfection of the human world. In a letter to Körner of 26 November 1790, Schiller himself recognised this: 'Für die tragische Behandlung ist diese Art Menschenhaß viel zu allgemein und philosophisch. Ich würde einen äußerst mühseligen und fruchtlosen Kampf mit dem Stoffe zu kämpfen haben, und bei aller Anstrengung doch verunglücken' (Jonas,III,117). Similarly, in a note accompanying the published fragment in the Thalia, he admitted that the fragment could only be completed in a genre other than drama: 'Vielleicht dürfte die Geschichte dieses Menschenfeindes und dieses ganze Karaktergemählde dem Publikum einmal in einer andern Form vorgelegt werden, welche diesem Gegenstand günstiger ist, als die dramatische' (V,255). 40 But even if the fragment could not become a completed drama, it remains of interest for the way it treats modem Man's feeling for Nature. ^

See also the review of Heft lO and 11 of the Thalia, in which the treatment of the theme of misanthropy in Der Menschenfeind is dismissed as 'undramatisch': Schiller und Goethe im Urtheile ihrer Zeitgenossen: Zeitungskritiken, Berichte und Notizen Schiller und Goethe und deren Werke betreffettd, aus den Jahren 1773-1812, gesammelt und herausgegeben von Julius W. Braun, 6 vols (Leipzig, 1882-85), I, 306.

Kallias oder über die Schönheit


Turning away from Man, who appears to him as the caricature of the idea of humanity, von Hutten seeks refuge and consolation in an isolated area of his estate, the mood of which is similar to that of the English garden. However, Schiller shows that although this landscape does offer a refuge, its isolation and melancholic atmosphere invite an indulgence in feelings and a retreat from reality and the human world which are actually damaging. The fragment therefore represents a modification of Schiller's enthusiasm for the English garden.

IV. Kallias oder über die Schönheit The letters to Körner of 25 January 1793 to 28 February 1793, commonly known as Kallias oder über die Schönheit after the title Schiller planned to give an essay on the objective criterion of beauty which never materialised, represent an important area of his thought on landscape gardening which has frequently been overlooked by critics. In both Der versöhnte Menschenfeind and the Kallias letters, Schiller is moving away from one type of English garden: in the former, he criticises its effect without suggesting any change, while in the latter, he suggests a redesigning on aesthetic grounds, using his theoretical concept of the objective principle of beauty to prescribe the ideal form which an English garden should assume. Inevitably, the erroneous view that Schiller is indifferent towards Nature prevails in much of the critical comment on the ideas he developed in 1793. According to Alfred Mundhenk, Kant's fairly positive view of organic forms in Nature in the Kritik der Urteilskraft had no influence on Schiller whatsoever: 'In der Wirkungsgeschichte der KdU steht es [=das Naturschöne] weit zurück hinter deren analytischen Ergebnissen. Schon Schiller als einer der frühen Leser, der sich von der Lektüre des Buches "hingerissen" fühlte, . . . nahm den Begriff des Naturschönen nicht auf.' 41 Following the traditional polarity of Goethe as Nature-lover and Schiller as hostile towards Nature, Mundhenk concludes that Kant's concept of 'das Naturschöne' had a much greater influence on Goethe, because unlike Schiller, he responded enthusiastically to the value Kant ascribed to Nature. Mundhenk's conclusions completely ignore the Kallias letters, in


"Die Gunst der Natur." Kanu Begriff und Deutung des Naturschönen', DVLG, S1 (1983), 366-98 (p.396).


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

which Schiller locates the objective principle of beauty firmly in the natural realm. In addition, Schiller is seen as being incapable of making a serious statement about Nature. His association of freedom in appearance in the organic realm with the freedom of human beings is dismissed as a completely ridiculous poetic notion: Karl Tomaschek, for example, describes the concept of freedom in appearance as a 'poetische Auffassung' and devalues Schiller's argument by claiming that it is the poet, rather than the philosopher, who represents the world of Nature in personal terms: 'Der Dichter personificirt alles . . . wer wurde das Treffende solcher Ansichten in ihrer dichterischen Einkleidung verkennen?' 42 Similarly, S. S. Kerry maintains that Schiller's location of freedom in the realm of Nature represents the point where implausible irrational ideas interrupt the Kantian logic and where the naive intuitive vision of the poet intrudes into the alien province of systematic aesthetic philosophy. 43 In contrast, I shall argue that, far from showing his hostility towards Nature, the letters in fact betray his concern with the craze for the English garden. We have seen that in the Matthisson review and Vber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, Schiller wants to endow the modern feeling for Nature with legitimacy by prescribing the conditions which modern literature must fulfil if it is to claim the status of a 'schone Kunst'. Similarly, in the Kallias letters, one of his aims in formulating an objective principle of beauty is to establish the ideal form of landscape garden which is worthy of the Moderns' admiration. Because the Kallias letters contain an a priori argument and empirical examples, I shall first examine Schiller's theory of the objective principle of beauty before showing how he establishes the aesthetic value of the French and English styles in garden design by testing them against this concept. In the Kallias letter of 18 February 1793, Schiller argues that an organic object must be free of rules and the laws of causality and teleology if it is to be beautiful. Initially he states that this is an ideal demand which is only fulfilled in a perfect realm beyond the physical world:



Karl Tomaschek, Schiller in seinem Verhältnisse zur Wissenschaft (Wien, 1862), p.180 and p.181 (my emphasis). Schiller's Writings on Aesthetics, Publications of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Manchester, 11 (Manchester, 1961), p.36, p.57 and pp.72-73.

KaUias oder über die Schönheit


Nun ist aber kein Gegenstand in der Natur und noch viel weniger in der Kunst zweckund regelfrei, keiner durch sich selbst bestimmt, sobald wir über ihn nachdenken. Jeder ist durch einen andern da, jeder um eines andern willen da, keiner hat Autonomie. Das einzige existierende Ding, das sich selbst bestimmt und um seiner selbst willen ist, muß man außerhalb der Erscheinungen in der intelligibeln Welt aufsuchen.^

This is the kind of statement upon which critics of the 'naturloser Schiller* persuasion pounce. Taken out of context, it would appear to confirm their view. However, as in the Matthisson review, Schiller is merely stating the factors which had traditionally prevented the organic realm from being seen as beautiful. That Schiller is determined to advance beyond traditional thought by locating beauty in organic objects is apparent from the following comment: 'Etwas muß an dem Gegenstande sein, was ihn aus der unendlichen Reihe des Nichtssagenden und Leeren heraushebt und unsern Erkenntnistrieb reizt' (pp.35-36). His solution to the lack of real freedom in Nature is similar to that of the Matthisson review, for he argues that the awareness of beauty in an organic object depends on the manner in which the object is treated and perceived: Weil also Schönheit an keiner Materie haftet, sondern bloß in der Behandlung besteht; alles aber, was sich den Sinnen vorstellt, technisch oder nicht-technisch, frei oder nichtfrei erscheinen kann: so folgt daraus, daß sich das Gebiet des Schönen sehr weit erstrecke, weil die Vernunft bei allem, was Sinnlichkeit und Verstand ihr unmittelbar vorstellen, nach der Freiheit fragen kann und muß. (p.54)

Freedom in the physical world can never be perceived through theoretical reason, for it will always relate the object to an aim or concept. In contrast, practical reason demands the exclusion of all external determination, and unlike theoretical reason, which needs to think that the form of an object is shaped by foreign intervention, a concept or an aim, it looks only for the ability of the perceived object to determine itself. This mode of perception, necessary because it flows from the very essence of practical reason, will see a quality analogous to the freedom of the individual human will in the inanimate natural object. Schiller defines this quality, or objective principle of beauty, by means of a variety of formulations including 'Freiheit in der Erscheinung', 'Natur in der Kunstmäßigkeit', 'Technik in der Freiheit' (p.37) and 'Heau^

KaUias oder über die Schönheit, Reclam Universal-Bibliothek Nr 9307, herausgegeben von Klaus L. Berghahn (Stuttgart, 1979), p.25. All quotations from the letters will be drawn from this edition.


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

tonomie1 (p.43). The idea common to all these formulations is that of selfdetermination, which appears only where the form of an object or the rule of its composition have not been shaped by an external agent, but have been given by the inner autonomous will of the object itself, or the 'Person des Dings' (p.38). For Schiller, the mode of perception where the percipient concentrates only on whether an object appears to be selfdetermined or not, is necessary and valid for all times and all peoples because it is justified by a priori principles. In his letter of 15 February 1793, Körner objects that Schiller's concept of freedom in appearance is a subjective principle of beauty, something which is lent to objects by practical reason rather than being present in the objects themselves. Schiller counters this objection by citing empirical examples of phenomena which show self-determination, the objective principle of beauty, even if the percipient is absent. The examples which Schiller cites fall into several categories: those derived from the inorganic realm such as clothes, geometrical shapes, buildings, vases, musical instruments and barrels; those derived from the human realm such as the manner in which different human beings treat a robbed man, social intercourse and dancing; and those derived from the organic realm, on which I shall focus my attention. Schiller is particularly interested in the organic form of the tree and uses his theory of the objective principle of beauty to criticise certain practices in the French garden. To show freedom in appearance, the shape of a tree must, according to his argument, be determined by its own inner being and not by external intervention. In the letter of 23 February 1793, Schiller thus criticises the practice common in the French garden of cutting trees in the shape of a circle, for this imposition of a geometrical shape foreign to the tree's nature destroys its freedom: Schneidet nun ein Gartner einen Baum zu einer Zirkelfigur aus, so fodert die Natur des Zirkels, daß er vollkommen rund geschnitten sei. Sobald also eine Zirkelfigur an dem Baume angekündigt wird, so muß sie erfüllt werden, und es beleidigt unser Auge, wenn dagegen gesündigt wird. Aber was die Natur des Zirkels fodert, das widerstreitet der Natur des Baums, und weil wir nicht umhin können, dem Baume seine eigene Natur, seine Persönlichkeit zuzugestehen, so verdrießt uns diese Gewalttätigkeit, und es gefällt uns, wenn er die ihm aufgedrungene Technik aus innerer Freiheit vernichtet, (p.42)^


See also Schiller's definition of 'naivety' in a garden in Über naive und sentimenlalische Dichtung: 'Niemand wird den Anblick naiv finden, wenn in einem Garten, der schlecht gewartet wird, das Unkraut überhand nimmt, aber es hat allerdings etwas naives, wenn der freye Wuchs hervorstrebender Aeste das mühselige Werk der Scheere in einem französischen Garten vernichtet' (XX, 419).

KalUas oder über die Schönheit


Because Schiller equates freedom in appearance with beauty and beauty with aesthetic value, the tree on which the topiarist has practised his craft can never command the judgment that it is beautiful or has aesthetic value. Later in the same letter, Schiller examines the shape which individual varieties of trees must assume if they are to be regarded as beautiful. Because an object is free and hence beautiful only if it has a form which it has determined itself, he concludes that birch, fir and poplar trees are beautiful if they follow their own will and grow straight, but the oak only if it grows curved. A slender oak tree and a curved birch tree are not beautiful, because their shape has been imposed on them by 'Heteronomie', or intervention from without (p.50). However, he argues that in the case of a poplar tree bent by the wind, the shape which the tree assumes does not betray 'Heteronomie', because the tree expresses its freedom through its swaying movements. Schiller thus recommends that the landscape painter should depict only those trees which show freedom in appearance, for trees which are strictly symmetrical or which slavishly follow their neighbour's shape like those in a French garden are not aesthetic objects and are not worthy of depiction in art: 'An demjenigen [=dem Baum] hingegen, der immer in einerlei Richtung verharrt, auch wenn ihm seine Gattung weit mehr Freiheit vergönnt, dessen Aste ängstlich in Reihe und Glied bleiben, als wenn sie nach der Schnur gezogen wären, wird er [=der Landschaftsmaler] mit Gleichgültigkeit vorübergehen' (p.50). Just as in the essay Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? Kant exhorted unenlightened Man 'Sapere aude!' (W,VI,53), so Schiller wants individual trees to have the courage to take full advantage of their freedom and independence. Schiller then turns his attention from trees to landscape. This is a logical progression, for as Andreas Wirth notes, in the Kallias letters Schiller views landscape as a collection of organic objects.46 According to the a priori deduction, a landscape is beautiful if its whole composition results from the freedom of the various organic objects of which it is composed. The individual elements in the landscape, such as mountains, buildings, twigs, men, animals, clouds, rivers and trees, must all follow their own will and show self-determination. However, they must also voluntarily place limitations on themselves in order to allow other organic

Das schwierige Schöne: Zu Schillers Ästhetik. Auch eine Interpretation der Abhandlung Über Matthtssons Gedichte, Abhandlungen wissenschaft, 123 (Bonn, 1975), p.82.


Kunst- Musik-




Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

elements in the landscape the freedom to express their autonomy and hence to ensure the harmony of the whole composition.47 Schiller illustrates this general rule with the example of a tree which grows so much that it hides a beautiful prospect. External intervention on the part of the gardener to remove the tree's growth by radical pruning would destroy the tree's freedom and is thus dismissed as 'Stiimperei' (p.51). The solution is to allow branches of the tree to sink through their own weight, since in this case, by voluntarily opening up the prospect, the tree follows its own will as well as that of the landscape gardener. When this occurs, an ideal balance between artifice and nature is attained, for the tree will appear to be a work of Art as well as of Nature, without any act of force or compulsion having been perpetrated against it. Schiller applies the same principle to landscape in the narrower sense, that is, to gardens. He is very critical of the French garden because the freedom of individual organic elements in this landscape is compromised by the practice of imposing regular, geometric shapes on Nature. On the basis of the a priori reasoning which established that the objective criterion of beauty was freedom in appearance, the forcible imposition of order on Nature, as for example in the practice of topiary work, must be regarded as leading inevitably to the destruction of the beauty and hence of the aesthetic value of the landscape. However, Schiller does not just use his theoretical concept of the objective principle of beauty to criticise the French garden, for one aspect of the English garden which he had previously regarded as unproblematic is now called into question. In the Kallias letters, his idea of a beautiful landscape is not one where individual organic elements use their freedom to grow luxuriantly in whatever direction they wish. The concept of freedom in appearance thus mediates between a completely wild landscape and a completely regular one, and a garden which shows ordered chaos or 'beau désordre' is clearly the landscape type which is aesthetically justified by this objective principle of beauty. This is, of course, at odds with the positive view taken of untrammelled natural growth in Don Carlos, where growth is associated with liberal characters and its restriction with evil and despotic characters, and where the very shape of the play suggests a belief in uncontrolled growth. 2*5 Compare Kant's argument in the Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbiirgerlicher Absicht that in a law-governed social order each individual human being should pursue his own ends, provided that in so doing he does not impinge on the freedom of others (W, VI,39-40).

Kallias oder über die Schönheit


The change in Schiller's ideas about landscape is evident in the link which he makes between it and politics. We have seen that in III.IO of Don Carlos, Posa bases his ideal political constitution on the model of the natural realm. Conversely, in the Kallias letters, Nature is viewed in terms of a political constitution. Schiller describes the organic forms in a landscape which show freedom in appearance as free citizens in a state: 'In der ästhetischen Welt ist jedes Naturwesen ein freier Bürger, der mit dem edelsten gleiche Rechte hat, und nicht einmal um des Ganzen willen darf gezwungen werden, sondern zu allem schlechterdings konsentieren muß' (p.49). The type of political constitution which this landscape represents is that of a liberal government, as defined by Schiller in Über Anmut und Würde and the Aesthetic Letters. In the former treatise, the various relationships between duty and desire in a human being are also examined through a series of comparisons with political constitutions: Wenn ein monarchischer Staat auf eine solche Art verwaltet wird, daß, obgleich alles nach eines Einzigen Willen geht, der einzelne Bürger sich doch überreden kann, daß er nach seinem eigenen Sinne lebe, und bloß seiner Neigung gehorche, so nennt man dieß eine liberale Regierung. Man würde aber großes Bedenken tragen, ihr diesen Nahmen zu geben, wenn entweder der Regent seinen Willen gegen die Neigung des Bürgers, oder der Bürger seine Neigung gegen den Willen des Regenten behauptete; denn in dem ersten Fall wäre die Regierung nicht liberal, in dem zweyten wäre sie gar nicht Regierung. (XX,278-79)

Since in a liberal government freedom steers a middle course between anarchy and despotism and the will of the ruler is accomplished through the free inclination of the individual citizens, Schiller demands that Man's reason should not behave like a despotic and tyrannical monarch towards the inclinations of the senses and that the senses should not seek to override the rule of reason through anarchical and lawless freedom, for in the 'schöne Seele' reason acts in concert with the desires in such a way that duty springs from the natural instincts. Similarly, in the 27th Aesthetic Letter, the aesthetic state is defined as having a liberal constitution in which the laws of the whole coincide with the inclinations of its individual members. Schiller contrasts this liberal constitution with the dynamic and the ethical state, neither of which obeys the principle evident in freedom in appearance: 'Der dynamische Staat kann die Gesellschaft bloß möglich machen, indem er die Natur durch Natur bezähmt; der ethische Staat kann sie bloß (moralisch) nothwendig machen, indem er den einzelnen Willen dem allgemeinen unterwirft; der ästhetische Staat allein kann sie wirklich


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

machen, weil er den Willen des Ganzen durch die Natur des Individuums vollzieht' (XX,410). It is obvious from these examples that Schiller sees the proper relationship between the individual organic form and the landscape composition as being one and the same as that between the individual citizen and the corporate entity of the state. Organic forms must consent voluntarily to the rules imposed on them by the whole landscape composition in the same way that in a liberal state, the citizens must only act in a manner which does not impinge on the freedom of others. And just as the ruler of a state should not impose his will forcibly on his subjects, so a landscape gardener should not do violence to organic forms by forcing them to conform to shapes which they would not follow of their own volition. This parallel between Schiller's ideas about landscape and his ideas about politics shows how deeply the move away from Posa's espousal of a political constitution based on the model of the untrammelled freedom of the natural realm in favour of the model of 'ordered chaos' or 'freedom within limits' was embedded in his thinking. Indeed, the change in his attitude towards organic growth is reflected in the contrast between the first and final versions of Don Carlos. As we have seen, he was very reluctant to prune the Thalia version of the play. However, the 'dramatisches Gedicht' version of 1805 has only 5370 lines compared with the 7044 lines of Bockmann's edition of the 'Ur-Don Karlos'. The maturer Schiller was clearly willing to prune individual elements of the play to ensure the unity and coherence of the whole work - a constructive pruning which must, of course, be differentiated from the radical, destructive pruning of the French gardener. The progressiveness of the stance which Schiller adopts towards landscape in the Kallias letters is apparent from his eagerness to show that the pleasure felt in the contemplation of a landscape characterised by ordered chaos is due, not to its subjective appeal, but to its embodiment of the objective principle of beauty, freedom in appearance. In direct contrast with Schiller, Kant regards enjoyment of landscape as a purely arbitrary and subjective reaction. In the Kritik der Urteilskraft, he is clearly distrustful of the appeal of landscape to modern Man, for he sees distant prospect, atmospheric effect, the play of light and shade, and perspective as giving landscape a purely fortuitous beauty and as prompting mere subjective appreciation:

Kallias oder über die Schönheit


Noch sind schöne Gegenstände von schönen Aussichten auf Gegenstände (die öfter der Entfernung wegen nicht mehr deutlich erkannt werden können) zu unterscheiden. In den letztem scheint der Geschmack nicht sowohl an dem, was die Einbildungskraft in diesem Felde auffaßt, als vielmehr an dem, was sie hiebei zu dichten Anlaß bekommt, d.i. an den eigentlichen Phantasien, womit sich das Gemüt unterhält, indessen dqß es durch die Mannigfaltigkeit, auf die das Auge stößt, kontinuierlich erweckt wird, zu haften. (W,V,328) 4 8

For Kant, the impressions aroused by the contemplation of landscape are not particularly worthwhile, because they cannot be classified as 'pure perceptions'. Like Kant, Hegel too argues that there is no objective criterion of beauty in a landscape composition and that consequently, appreciation of landscape is always subjective and empirical: Eine eigentümliche Beziehung endlich gewinnt die Naturschönheit durch das Erregen von Stimmungen des Gemüts und durch Zusammenstimmen mit denselben. Solche Bezüglichkeit z.B. erhält die Stille einer Mondnacht, die Ruhe eines Tales, durch welches ein Bach sich hinschlängelt, die Erhabenheit des unermeßlichen, aufgewühlten Meeres, die ruhige Größe des Sternenhimmels. Die Bedeutung gehört hier nicht mehr den Gegenständen als solchen an, sondern ist in der erweckten Gemütsstimmung zu suchen.4®

Similarly, for Friedrich Theodor Vischer, pleasure at the contemplation of landscape does not reside in an awareness that it fulfils an objective criterion of beauty, but in mere subjective appreciation, which Vischer describes as 'leihendes Anschauen' and the 'Zurückverlegung des empfindenden und selbstbewußten Lebens hinter sich in die blinde Natur'. 50 However, even though Schiller's ideas on landscape are advanced for his time, the theory still has its limitations. Its main weakness resides in the exclusivism of his vision, 51 for although he argues convincingly that

49 50


See also Mundhenk, p.382: 'Durch seinen [=Kants] Schönheitsbegriff wird gerade all das ausgeschlossen, was das moderne Naturgefühl vorwiegend prägt, dessen frühe enthusiastische Äußerungen er bei Rousseau kennengelernt haben mußte. Ausgeschlossen sind die großen Ansichten und Fernsichten der Natur, die Landschaften und ihre Stimmungen, die Atmosphäre und das Licht.' G. W. F. Hegel, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Theorie-Werkausgabe (Frankfurt am Main, 1969-79), X m (1970), 177. Aesthetik oder Wissenschaft des Schönen, 4 vols (Reutlingen und Leipzig, 1846-57), II (1847), 27. Critics who see the fault of the theory as residing in the exclusivism of Schiller's vision include J. M. Ellis, 'Schiller's "Kalliasbriefe". A critical re-examination of the Text and of traditional methods of interpreting Schiller's Aesthetics' (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of London, 1965), pp.176-79 and Wemer Strobe, 'Schillers


Schiller and the English Garden 1759-93

freedom in appearance is an important factor in beauty, the total effect of a landscape cannot be explained solely by this concept. By making freedom in appearance the unique criterion of beauty and hence of aesthetic value, Schiller rules out the fact that there may be other qualities present in a landscape which constitute beauty. Edmund Burke, for example, argues that a beautiful landscape is one which shows the qualities of smoothness and gradual variation as opposed to roughness and sudden variation.52 It is, however, easy to understand the exclusivism of Schiller's vision in the light of his objective of giving an a priori legitimisation to the Moderns' love of the English rather than the French garden. By suggesting that appreciation of the English garden arises from the presence of an objective principle of beauty, while dislike of the French garden arises from the absence of such an objective principle, he aims to endow the Moderns' taste in landscape with necessity. As he states at the outset, it will only have this if people agree with his judgment of beauty on the basis of principle and not merely because they find that it coincides with individual judgments of taste: 'Diese Schwierigkeit bleibt immer, daß man mir meine Erklärung bloß darum zugeben wird, weil man findet, daß sie mit den einzelnen Urteilen des Geschmacks zutrifft, und nicht (wie bei einer Erkenntnis aus objektiven Prinzipien doch sein sollte) sein Urteil über das einzelne Schöne in der Erfahrung deswegen richtig findet, weil es mit meiner Erklärung übereinstimmt' (p.S). And he concentrates on a single criterion of beauty, for as Ellis notes,53 a larger number of factors constituting an objective principle of beauty would have appeared to him as a chaos of different subjective reactions which would have rendered his aim impossible and made his theory worthless. Schiller's theory of beauty in the Kallias letters is thus the product of his wish to prove the validity of certain judgments of beauty and hence to ban individual and arbitrary judgment from aesthetics. The garden landscape which elicits the judgment that it is beautiful because it shows freedom in appearance is one which is neither completely regular nor completely wild. Schiller thus continues to criticise the artificiality of the French garden, but his wholehearted support in the 1780s for unsuppressed natural growth has been reappraised in favour of a landscape in


Kallias-Briefe oder Ober die Objektivität der Schönheit', Ub, NF, 18 (1977), 115-31 (jp.124). A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, edited by J. T. Boulton (London, 1958), pp.114-15. Ellis, p.181.

Kallias oder über die Schönheit


which the freedom of individual organic objects does not impinge on the freedom of other elements in the landscape and hence does not endanger the harmony of the whole composition.

Chapter Four: Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99 I. Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795 On the 15 September 1794, Cotta sent Schiller a copy of the Taschenkalender auf das Jahr 1795 für Natur- und Gartenfreunde which he had just published, with the request that Schiller review it in the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung. Some measure of Schiller's enthusiasm for the enterprise can be gauged from the fact that only a few days after receiving Cotta's letter, Schiller wrote to Schütz, requesting that he publish the review in the ALZ. In the main, the Gartenkalender review is very rarely examined on its own terms. It is most frequently mentioned in relation to Der Spaziergang, for the description of the 'Weg von Stuttgart nach Hohenheim' in the second half of the review is seen by many critics as providing the model for the landscape depicted in the elegy.1 The review is thus regarded as important only in so far as it played a minor rôle in the composition of Der Spaziergang and includes some interesting autobiographical details. Examining the review on its own terms, I wish to suggest that it has a greater significance, since in it Schiller wants to endow the modern feeling for Nature with legitimacy. It can be seen as a further response to the problematic aspects of the English garden which emerged in the Menschenfeind fragment and the Kallias letters, for his main concern lies with prescribing the qualities which the ideal landscape garden must possess if it is to have an aesthetic effect on Man. That he is determined to use the review as a pretext to advance these prescriptions in the form of a theory of the German garden is clear in his letter to Schütz of 3 0 September 1794: 'Zugleich frage ich bey Ihnen an, ob Sie es wohl zuSee for example Karl Berger, Schiller: Sein Leben und seine Werke, 2 vols (München, 1910, 1911), n, 319-20, Friedrich Meinecke, 'Schillers Spaziergang', in Meinecke, Vom geschichtlichen Sinn und vom Sinn der Geschichte (Leipzig, 1939), pp.68-94 (pp.70-73), Emil Staiger's Schiller monograph, pp.191-92 and Heinrich Viehoff, Schiller's Gedichte erläutert und auf ihre Veranlassungen und Quellen zurückgefiihrt, neue, größtentheils umgearbeitete Auflage, 3 vols (Stuttgart, 1856), II, 155.

Ober den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


frieden sind, daß ich einen Garten Calender recensiere, der kürzlich in Schwaben erschienen ist, und der mir Gelegenheit giebt, mein Glaubensbekenntniß über die deutschen Parks und dgl. abzulegen' (XXVII,55-56, my emphasis). The review could in fact be seen as a sequel to the Kallias letters, for just as the concept of freedom in appearance mediates between a completely wild and a completely regular garden landscape, so the German garden mediates between the English and French styles in garden design. However, the Gartenkalender review goes one step further than the Kallias letters, for in his demand for a synthesis between the French and the English garden, Schiller is adopting a much more positive and conciliatory attitude towards the previously despised French garden. Like the Matthisson review, the Gartenkalender review has a bipartite structure. In the first half of the review, based loosely on Gottlob Heinrich Rapp's comments in the essay Fragmentarische Beiträge zur Ausbildung des deutschen Gartengeschmacks, Schiller examines the conditions under which a German garden could be developed, while in the second half, prompted by Rapp's Beschreibung des Gartens in Hohenheim, he gives his interpretation of Hohenheim garden near Stuttgart. I shall examine the two halves of the review in turn, showing how Scchiller initially advances the concept of a German garden and then determines the aesthetic value of particular German landscape gardens by testing them against this concept. In the review as a whole, Schiller wants to break new ground by developing a poetic which would have some place for the modern art form of the landscape garden. However, like the Matthisson review, the Gartenkalender review opens on a cautious note, with Schiller reiterating the objections which had traditionally prevented landscape gardens from being seen as 'beautiful' art forms. He declares that the vogue for landscape gardens in Germany, fuelled by Hirschfeld's Theorie der Gartenkunst, had not always advanced the cause of good taste, for no strict principles had been laid down for the landscape gardener to follow, with the result that the composition of many landscape gardens was characterised by arbitrariness. He reiterates at length the traditionalists' view that landscape gardens were the product of dilettante artists and hence could not be seen as true works of art: 'Diese Geburten des nördlichen Geschmacks [=ästhetische Gärten] sind von einer so zweideutigen Abkunft und haben bis jetzt einen so unsichern Charakter gezeigt, daß es dem echten Kunstfreunde zu verzeihen ist, wenn er sie kaum einer flüchtigen Aufmerksamkeit würdigte und dem Dilettantism zum Spiele dahin gab' (XXII,285). For the traditionalists, landscape gardening is a 'dubious'


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

activity, for it is the product of a modern age and is not legitimised by the canon of Greek Classicism. In addition, Schiller admits that the change in taste from the French to the English style in garden design would tend to support the traditionalists' view that landscape gardening has an 'unsicherer Charakter' (XXII,285) and consequently that it is merely a 'pleasant' art. Schiller then examines the French and the English garden in turn, pointing out the features which prevent each of them from being seen as beautiful works of art. In a formulation reminiscent of the Kallias letters, he criticises the French taste in garden design for imposing geometrical and architectonic shapes on organic objects, thereby violating their nature and destroying their autonomy: 'Der Baum mußte seine höhere organische Natur verbergen, damit die Kunst an seiner gemeinen Körpernatur ihre Macht beweisen konnte. Er mußte sein schönes selbständiges Leben für ein geistloses Ebenmaß und seinen leichten schwebenden Wuchs für einen Anschein von Festigkeit hingeben, wie das Auge sie von steinernen Mauern verlangt' (XXII,285). Schiller is equally critical of the excesses to which the English garden is prone, attacking its 'regelloseste Lizenz' (XXII,286) and its tendency to take the lawless anarchy of the imagination as its sole model. Just as the imagination leaps from one image to the next, so in an English garden the onlooker is confronted with many different unconnected scenes in a small area, with the result that Nature loses its simplicity: 'Sie [=die Natur] sinkt nun, in unsern sogenannten englischen Gärten, zu einer kindischen Kleinheit herab, und hat sich durch ein übertriebenes Bestreben nach Ungezwungenheit und Mannigfaltigkeit von aller schönen Einfalt entfernt und aller Regel entzogen' (XXII,286). As in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, Schiller sees this type of garden as the product of the aberrant manifestation of the modern feeling for Nature which had been encouraged by the gross sentimentality of the age, the 'weichlicher Charakter der Zeit' (XXII,286). Schiller does not, however, lose hope in the face of these formidable objections to landscape gardening. He is determined to demonstrate that a landscape garden is potentially a 'beautiful' rather than merely a 'pleasant' art form, as the following comment shows: 'Da es so schwer hält, der ästhetischen Gartenkunst ihren Platz unter den schönen Künsten anzuweisen, so könnte man leicht auf die Vermutung geraten, daß sie hier gar nicht unterzubringen sei. Man würde aber Unrecht haben, die verunglückten Versuche in derselben gegen ihre Möglichkeit überhaupt zeugen zu lassen' (XXII,286). Whereas before, Schiller had concentrated exclusively on the deficiencies of both the French and the English garden, he now seeks to

Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


legitimise each of them by demonstrating that both the French and English styles sprang from legitimate human needs. Turning to the French style in garden design, which he terms 'architektonischer Geschmack' (XXII,286), he points out that the French gardener was justified in making a connection between architecture and gardening, firstly because the origins of both arts lay in a common physical need which determined their forms, and secondly because both arts used natural materials as a means to produce new, ordered and geometrical shapes. The French garden became excessively regular only when the practitioners of the style were led astray by the common origin of both arts, with the result that architecture influenced gardening, and order was championed to the complete exclusion of freedom. By pointing out that the parallels between architecture and landscape gardening had a legitimate basis, Schiller is clearly adopting a much more conciliatory attitude towards the French style in garden design than had previously been the case. Schiller is equally keen to demonstrate that the stress on freedom in the English garden has a legitimate basis, for in an argument which he would later expand in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, he states that the pleasure which modern Man feels in contemplating landscapes arises from his awareness that the hand of the artist has played no part in their composition: 'Einem aufmerksamen Beobachter seiner selbst konnte es nicht entgehen, daß das Vergnügen, womit uns der Anblick landschaftlicher Szenen erfüllt, von der Vorstellung unzertrennlich ist, daß es Werke der freien Natur, nicht des Künstlers sind' (XXII,287). The English garden designer, intent upon arousing a similar feeling of pleasure, thus took the freedom of Nature as his model and banned all traces of Art from his garden. According to Schiller, excesses in this style arose when landscape gardening overstepped its limits and followed the laws of painting, disregarding the fact that the small scale of the latter could not be satisfactorily applied to an art form which represents Nature through itself. The inevitable consequence of this misjudgment was that a legitimate desire for variety and freedom degenerated into triviality and arbitrariness, as grand natural phenomena were reproduced on a small scale. Schiller clearly recognises the importance of the English garden as an antidote to excessive formalism and regularity, but at the same time he is critical of the excesses to which it is prone. He resolves this ambivalence by postulating the idea of a 'middle way', a 'ganz guter Mittelweg zwischen der Steifigkeit des französischen Gartengeschmacks und der gesetzlosen Freiheit des sogenannten englischen' (XXII,288), in which the


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

advantages of the French garden would be combined with the advantages of the English garden and the excesses of both styles would be avoided. Because it would mediate between the French and the English garden, the German garden would appeal in equal measure to both the intellect and the emotions: 'Es wird sich zeigen, daß es sehr ausführbar und vernünftig ist, einen Garten, der allen Foderungen des guten Landwirts entspricht, sowohl für das Auge als für das Herz und den Verstand zu einem charakteristischen Ganzen zu machen' (XXII,288). Schiller uses Rapp's ideas as a springboard for his own argument, for in terms reminiscent of the Matthisson review, he describes how this new type of landscape garden would be capable of expressing an emotional state. It would thereby be endowed with the necessity of the human realm and would be a 'beautiful', rather than a merely 'pleasant' work of art: 'So hält er [=Rapp] es keineswegs für unmöglich, symbolische und gleichsam pathetische Gärten anzulegen, die ebenso gut als musikalische oder poetische Kompositionen fähig sein müßten, einen bestimmten Empfindungszustand auszudrücken und zu erzeugen' (XXII,289). In order to differentiate Schiller's concept of the 'middle way' in garden design from the mainstream of opinion, it is important to examine it in the context of contemporary thought on the subject. Schiller was not the first German thinker to voice concern about the lawless freedom of the English garden and to show some appreciation for the regularity of the French garden. Justus Moser had criticised the excesses of the English garden in his satirical essay Das englische Gärigen of 1773, in which a woman named 'Anglomania Domen' writes to her grandmother describing the transformation of her kitchen garden into a sentimental park complete with hills and valleys, meandering paths, a river, a Chinese bridge and a Gothic cathedral. In Letter 7 of his Briefe über die Kunst an eine Freundinn, Joseph Friedrich Räcknitz advances beyond Möser in that he attempts to give an objective evaluation of the merits of the French garden at a time when it was much maligned. He argues that the term 'garden' implies order and regularity, and without wishing to deny the advantages of the English garden, he suggests that in the craze for novelty the relative merits of the French garden had been unjustly ignored: 'Ohne daher dem englischen Geschmack in Gärten seine Schönheiten absprechen und seine Vorzüge bestreiten zu wollen, lasse man - ich wiederhole es, - dem ehemaligen französischen doch auch Gerechtigkeit wiederfahren.' 2 He declares that it is in fact preferable to lay out a French garden where the Briefe über die Kunst an eine Freundinn (Dresden, 1792), part 2, p.39.

Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


soil is infertile, where only a limited area is available for improvement, round a palace built in a regular architectural style, or in towns. It can be assumed that Schiller supports Räcknitz' stance on landscape gardening, for in a letter to Goethe of 23 December 1795, he describes the Briefe as being worthy of an appreciative acknowledgment in his journal Die Horen. However, although Räcknitz is intent upon giving an objective appraisal of the merits of the French garden, his ideas are not so wide-ranging as Schiller's in the Gartenkalender review, for he does not go as far as advocating a 'middle way' between the French and the English garden. Hirschfeld, however, does do this in his Theorie der Gartenkunst. Criticising both the French and the English garden for their excesses, he recommends a synthesis of the two styles: 'Also nicht bloße Nachahmung so wenig des engländischen, als des französischen Gartengeschmacks, . . . Es wird sich in der Folge zwischen beyden Arten des herrschenden Geschmacks ein Mittelweg ergeben, der, indem er die alte Manier verläßt, sich nicht ganz in die neue verliert, sondern zwar zuweilen in ihren gebahnten Pfad einbiegt, aber noch öfter seine eigene Richtung verfolgt' (Th, 1,144). He suggests that the result of this synthesis, a truly German garden, would eliminate 'Gallomanie' and 'Anglomanie', the slavish imitation of foreign styles of garden design in Germany. Although Johann Christian August Grohmann argues that Hirschfeld's concept of the 'deutscher Garten' remains shadowy and unspecific,3 Hirschfeld is explicit about its 'Germanness' but is not specific about how to combine regularity and freedom, which is the essential problem posed by the criticisms of the French and English styles. He states that only plants and trees which are indigenous to Germany should be grown in it, and he also recommends that it should contain Gothic rather than Greek ruins because the former are more 'German' than the latter. Hirschfeld also insists that statues in German gardens should represent only national artists and philosophers: Der Deutsche wird doch wohl so patriotisch gesinnt seyn, dem einheimischen Verdienst vor dem auswärtigen den Vorgang zu gönnen. Dadurch würden unsere Gärten, die so lange Nachahmungen der Mode und so selten Werke unsers Genies sind, nicht allein einen Theil von einem eigenen Nationalcharakter, sondern auch eine Kraft zu weit 'Hirschfeld ist, soviel mir bekannt ist, der erste, der den Namen "deutscher Garten" aufführt: aber er bestimmt letztem nicht weiter, als daß er eine Abweichung von den engländischen Anlagen sei.' Quoted from Wolfgang Schepers, 'C. C. L. Hirschfelds Theorie der Gartenkunst (1779-85) und die Frage des "deutschen Gartens"', in Park und Garten im IS. Jahrhundert, Colloquium der Arbeitsstelle 18. Jahrhundert, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Literatur und Kunst des 18. Jahrhunderts, 2 (Heidelberg, 1978), pp.83-92 (p.83).


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99 lehrreichern Unterhaltungen gewinnen, als alle die gewöhnlichen Kopien von Statuen des Alterthums nicht geben können. (Iii,III, 132)

In addition, Hirschfeld states that inscriptions on buildings and memorials should preferably be taken from German writers. He even prints sixty different inscriptions from German authors which he sees as being suitable for inclusion in a German garden. It is clear that with his concept of the German garden, Hirschfeld is attempting to inspire a sense of patriotism and national consciousness in his fellow Germans. Schiller would also have encountered the concept of the 'deutscher Garten' in Atzel's essay Ideal eines teutschert Gartens, which he published in the Wirtembergisches Repertorium of 1783. Atzel refers contemptuously to the French style in gardening as 'gedankenloser Pracht, abgezirkelte Tändeley, ein Gemisch von Unsinn und Ueppigkeit, kurz ein Beweiß der traurigsten Ausartung des Menschengefühls'.4 However, he also criticises the Germans' eagerness to take the English garden as their model: 'Meistens geschieht aber auch dieses mehr aus Nachäfferei oder Anglomanismus, als aus wahrem Gefühl für das Schöne.'5 The ideal of a 'German garden' which Atzel postulates as an alternative to the French and English gardens also has strong patriotic overtones, for in the 'teutscher Garten' which he describes, German history is recounted in a series of tableaux in the area of the garden termed 'Paradies'. The primeval German forest evoked by Atzel contains Hermann's grave, temples to heathen gods worshipped by Germanic tribes, Charlemagne's grave, a Gothic mausoleum honouring ancient German heroes who furthered knowledge and art, a grotto containing graves of German warrior heroes of the Middle Ages, a grove dedicated to the Minnesänger, ums celebrating Kaiser Heinrich VI, King Wenceslaus von Böhmen, Winsbecke, Waither von der Vogelweide, Eschilbach and Herzog Heinrich von Breslau, and memorials to Luther and Melanchthon. The German garden Schiller prescribes can be clearly differentiated from that proposed by Hirschfeld and Atzel, for patriotism plays no part in his ideas in the Gartenkalender review. He understands 'Germanness' in garden design not as the patriotic glorification of specifically German heroes or German history in a landscape garden, but as the ideal mediating force or golden mean between the excesses of French and English taste. That this notion is one which is characteristic for Schiller is clear from the 4 5

Wirtembergisches Repertorium, drittes Stück (Stuttgart, 1783), p.394. Ibid., p.396.

Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


fact that the same pattern is evident in his comments on literature. A decade before the review, he expressed the hope that he would be able to create a literary style which mediates between the two extremes of French and English literature: 'Ich hoffe zwischen zwei Extremen, Englischem und Französischem Geschmak in ein heilsames Gleichgewicht zu kommen. ' 6 And he still took this view in 1794, for in the Zerstreute Betrachtungen über verschiedene ästhetische Gegenstände, he criticises his fellow Germans for having slavishly followed either the extremes of French taste or the extremes of English taste, and actually sees a parallel between their literary works and their landscape gardens: Die Gartenkunst und die dramatische Dichtkunst haben in neuern Zeiten ziemlich dasselbe Schicksal, und zwar bey denselben Nationen, gehabt. Dieselbe Tyranney der Regel in den französischen Gärten und in den französischen Tragödien; dieselbe bunte und wilde Regellosigkeit in den Parks der Engländer und in ihrem Shakespear; und so wie der deutsche Geschmack von jeher das Gesetz von den Ausländem empfangen, so mußte er auch in diesem Stück zwischen jenen beiden Extremen hin und herschwanken. (XX,237-38)

Indeed, Schiller himself was addressed by Karl Friedrich Reinhard as the prototype of the German genius in that he combined the advantages of both French and English taste in his work: 'Sie verbinden die Korrektheit französischen Geschmacks mit der Innigkeit und der Vollständigkeit deutscher Empfindung und mit engländischer Gedankenfülle. ' 7 It is thus not surprising that in the Gartenkalender review, Schiller should quote Rapp's fulminations against the 'Anglomanie' (XXII,289) of many German landowners in support of his argument that the Germans' task of achieving an ideal balance between the French and the English taste in garden design would remain unfulfilled as long as they slavishly imiQuoted from Schiller's letter to Dalberg of 24 August 1784 (XXm, 1SS). See also Peter André Bloch's comment that Schiller's idea of a 'German Classicism' resides in the synthesis of French and English models: 'Schillers Idee und Experiment einer "neuen Klassik"', in Der theatralische Neoklassizismus um 1800: Ein europäisches Phänomen?, herausgegeben von Roger Bauer in Verbindung mit Michael de Graat und Jürgen Wertheimer, Jahrbuch fur internationale Germanistik, Reihe A: Kongreßberichte, 18 (Bern, 1986), pp.40-50 (pp.46-47). Letter to Schiller of 16 November 1791. Quoted from Peter André Bloch, Schiller und die französische klassische Tragödie: Versuch eines Vergleichs, Wirkendes Wort, 5 (Düsseldorf, 1968), p.89. See also the poem Deutsche Größe of 1797, in which Schiller sees Germany as the land which geographically constitutes the force of equilibrium between the great powers of France and England and the Germans as a people which has always absorbed and synthesised the best elements from other peoples and cultures: n,i,433, lines 13-28.


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

tated either model. As in his attitude to literature, Schiller's ideal is clearly that of an independent German garden design which reconciles the diametrically opposed characters of French and English taste by adopting their advantages without partaking of their excesses. In the second part of the review, Schiller turns his attention to Hohenheim garden. Karl Eugen began the task of laying out die garden around 1780, with Hohenheim palace being added late in 1782. Hohenheim was, however, quite different from the gardens at Ludwigsburg and Solitude, for it owed much to the influence of Karl Eugen's mistress, Franziska von Hohenheim. Her diary shows that she was a disciple of Rousseau and that she favoured an idyllic existence close to Nature. In 1776 she visited England and was so impressed by the English gardens which she saw that on her return to Germany she wanted to create a garden at Hohenheim. With this in mind, Karl Eugen and Franziska visited many landscape gardens, including Weimar, Wörlitz, Schwetzingen, Schönbrunn and Versailles. Karl Eugen himself also contributed to the laying out of the new garden in that he was eager to re-create some of the monuments from antiquity which he had seen during his travels in Italy on his Grand Tour. The resulting garden was a ruined landscape in which fragments of Roman remains, including a copy of the Temple of the Vesta in Rome, Roman baths, Roman city walls, Nero's grave and a copy of the Sibyl's Temple at Tivoli, were juxtaposed with quaint, rural buildings, such as a shepherd's house, a mill, a gardener's house, a barn, a Swiss cottage and a dairy farm, all of which were furnished as though they were inhabited by imaginary beggars, peasants and milkmaids.8 As Johannes Proelß points out, Schiller was well acquainted with the garden and had visited it on many occasions before he fled from Stuttgart in the summer of 1782.9 For example, after Schiller's illicit visits to Mannheim to see Die Räuber performed, it was to Hohenheim that he was summoned by Karl Eugen, who showed him round the garden and then promptly forbade him to write

For a detailed description and illustrations of Hohenheim see Victor Heideloff, Ansichten des Herzoglich-Würtembergischen Landsizes Hohenheim: Nach der Natur gezeichnet und durch kurze Beschreibungen eriaeutert (Nürnberg, 1795). Hirschfeld also gives an eye-witness description of the garden in his Theorie der Gartenkunst, V, 349-55. 'Schiller in Hohenheim', pp.142-56.

Über den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


any more plays. 10 It is also certain that Schiller visited the garden again in spring 1794 in the company of Rapp and Dannecker.11 A variety of reasons have been advanced in an attempt to explain Schiller's praise of Hohenheim in the Gartenkalender review. Siegmar Gerndt speculates that Schiller praised the garden so highly because he was friendly with Rapp, who was the brother-in-law of Dannecker, one of his friends from the Karlsschule days, and because he was striving for a more objective judgment of Karl Eugen's merits after the Duke's death in 1793.12 Neither of these suggestions is entirely satisfactory. Schiller was indeed a close friend of Rapp's, and the two families frequently dined together,13 but this friendship alone cannot explain Schiller's praise of Hohenheim, for as will become evident, he merely takes Rapp's description of Hohenheim in the Taschenkalender as a starting point for a personal interpretation of the garden which is embedded in his own ideas. As for Gerndt's second explanation, it is true that Schiller is purported to have spoken with some degree of affection of Karl Eugen at his graveside in 1793, but this is recounted by von Hoven in an autobiography written many years after the alleged incident,14 so there is some doubt as to the veracity of the report. More important, a particularly hostile reference to the 'Tod des alten Herodes' (Jonas,III,415) in a letter to Körner of lO December 1793 hardly suggests that Schiller felt conciliatory towards Karl Eugen after his death. Moreover, Schiller makes a veiled reference to Karl Eugen's exploitation of his subjects at the end of his interpretation of Hohenheim in the Gartenkalender review itself: 'Er [=der Stifter dieser Anlagen] wußte nicht in seinen Gärten allein Wasserwerke von der Natur zu erzwingen, wo sich kaum eine Quelle fand' (XXII,291). It is thus extremely unlikely that Schiller intended his praise of Hohenheim in the Gartenkalender review to be a eulogy of its creator.





See Boas, II, 275-76. See also Proelß, 'Schiller in Hohenheim', p. 157 and the comment by Ludwig Friedrich Göritz in his Erinnerungen, quoted in Schillers Persönlichkeit, Urtheile der Zeitgenossen und Documente gesammelt von Max Hecker und Julius Petersen, 3 vols (Weimar, 1904-09), II (1908), 44-45. See Proelß, 'Schiller in Hohenheim', pp.130-31, Eduard von der Hellen, SA, I, 319 and XXD, 428. Idealisierte Natur: Die literarische Kontroverse um den Landschaftsgarten des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland (Stuttgart, 1981), p.139. See Rapp's letter to Schiller of 13 July 1794, quoted in part by Proelß, 'Schiller in Hohenheim', pp. 174-75. See Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven, Lebenserinnerungen, herausgegeben von HansGünther Thalheim (Berlin, 1984), pp. 142-43.


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

A more convincing explanation for Schiller's praise of Hohenheim emerges if the review as a whole is compared to the Matthisson review, which was written only a few months before. In the Matthisson review, Schiller argues that Matthisson's poems are 'beautiful' rather than merely 'pleasant' because they satisfy all the requirements advanced in the first part of the review. Just as Schiller's extravagant praise of the poems arises from the fact that he interprets them as the empirical illustration of the pure concept of descriptive poetry, so his praise of Hohenheim results from the fact that he interprets it as the empirical illustration of the pure concept of the 'middle way' in garden design. In his interpretation of Hohenheim, Schiller argues that it represents the synthesis of opposites and hence illustrates in practice the theory of the 'middle way' in garden design. He states that the juxtaposition of Roman graves, temples, decaying city walls and the gloomy remains of a prison with cheerful Swiss cottages and flowerbeds is not arbitrary, for these disparate elements form a harmonious whole because of a unifying principle underlying the composition of the garden. He defines this as the idea that a rural colony had been founded in the midst of the ruins of a Roman city, though he seems uncertain whether to impute its origin to Rapp or Karl Eugen. Schiller thus sees the disparate architectural styles of the buildings at Hohenheim as providing welcome variety, but due to the unifying role of the single idea the excessive variety and arbitrariness of the English garden are avoided. In the theoretical section of the review, Schiller argued that the French garden appealed predominantly to the intellect, while the English garden spoke mainly to the feelings, and postulated that the landscape garden representing the 'middle way' between the two styles would speak to both the intellect and the emotions. That Hohenheim contains none of the actual stylistic features of the French or the English garden is hence unimportant, for Schiller defines the garden for which he is calling by its effect rather than by its character. He clearly regards Hohenheim as fulfilling his requirement, as is shown by his description of the effect on the onlooker of the contrast between the rural simplicity of the new colony and the sublime, decaying ruins of a lost civilisation: Ländliche Simplizität und versunkene städtische Herrlichkeit, die zwei äußersten Zustände der Gesellschaft, grenzen auf eine rührende Art aneinander, und das ernste Gefühl der Vergänglichkeit verliert sich wunderbar schön in dem Gefühl des siegenden Lebens. Diese glückliche Mischung gießt durch die ganze Landschaft einen tiefen elegischen Ton aus, der den empfindenden Betrachter zwischen Ruhe und Bewegung,

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Nachdenken und Genuß schwankend ertiält und noch lange nachhallet, wenn schon alles verschwunden ist. (XXII,290)

Schiller claims that Hohenheim represents the synthesis of opposites: of ruins and entire buildings, of transience and renewal, of urban magnificence and rural simplicity and of Classicism and Rousseauian sentimentality. And he suggests that, as such, it speaks to both sides of Man's psyche, providing stimulus for his intellect as well as sensual enjoyment. The additional significance for Schiller of this effect on the onlooker is apparent when it is seen in the light of the ideas he put forward in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. Modern Man, in the form of the visitor to the garden, is moved by the contrast between culture and rural simplicity. The ruined remains of a vanished civilisation evoke a melancholy, elegiac mood, but the awareness of the transience of glory and greatness is tempered by a counterbalancing feeling of hope which flows from the sight of the flourishing peasant settlement rising out of the very heart of decay and destruction. The garden thus fulfils the function Schiller ascribes in his essay to the pure concept of the elegy, for it exercises both a relaxing and an energising effect on the visitor who seeks out Nature in order to obtain some relief from the rigours of culture. Hohenheim garden thus provides the solution to the problem posed in Der versöhnte Menschenfeind, where von Hutten's garden has only a relaxing effect, for in visiting Hohenheim, modern Man will find not only relaxation, but also the energy to return to everyday life. A comparison between Schiller's interpretation of the effect of Hohenheim on the visitor and the ideas of Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen provides further evidence that he saw such a garden as potentially playing a very important röle in furthering the development of mankind and in restoring modern Man's lost harmony. In the Aesthetic Letters, Schiller sees modern Man as being alienated from himself as a result of the lack of equilibrium between the two main forces in his psyche. Because of the nature of contemporary society, modern Man is divided against himself: he is either a savage, in the thrall of his animal instincts, or a barbarian of culture, having developed only one function of his psyche, abstract thought, to its full potential. Schiller argues that all the catastrophic events befalling contemporary society, such as the 'Reign of Terror" during the French Revolution, are the direct result of this disharmony. In order to resolve it, he postulates the idea of the aesthetic condition in which Man's rational being and sensual being are brought into complete equilibrium. Schiller stresses that Man can only experience this


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

equilibrium of the forces in his psyche through the contemplation of beauty: 'Durch die Schönheit wird der sinnliche Mensch zur Form und zum Denken geleitet; durch die Schönheit wird der geistige Mensch zur Materie zurückgeführt, und der Sinnenwelt wiedergegeben' (XX,365). In the Gartenkalender review, Schiller describes Hohenheim as being capable of leading the simple man to thought and the man of culture to feeling, and this interpretation of the garden's effect shows that he clearly regards it as a beautiful art form which is instrumental in bringing the opposing forces in Man's psyche into a harmonious equilibrium and hence in furthering the aesthetic education of mankind. Confirmation that in direct contrast with the traditionalists Schiller regarded the garden as a beautiful art form is provided by the fact that he sees the aesthetic effect of this particular sort of landscape garden as being equal to that of a Greek sculpture or a painting. As we have seen, he argues that the effect of Hohenheim is to bring about in the onlooker the opposing states of 'Ruhe' and 'Bewegung', 'Nachdenken' and 'Genuß' (XXII,290), and this corresponds exactly to the aesthetic effect he attributes in the 15th Aesthetic Letter to the sculpture of Juno Ludovisi: 'Durch jenes [=die Anmuth der Juno Ludovisi] unwiderstehlich ergriffen und angezogen, durch dieses [=ihre Würde] in der Ferne gehalten, befinden wir uns zugleich in dem Zustand der höchsten Ruhe und der höchsten Bewegung, und es entsteht jene wunderbare Rührung, für welche der Verstand keinen Begriff und die Sprache keinen Nahmen hat' (XX,360). Similarly, in An den Herausgeber der Propyläen, written on the occasion of the art exhibition organised by Goethe in Weimar in 1800, Schiller's description of the aesthetic effect of a painting by Johann August Nahl depicting the episode in Book 6 of the Iliad where Hector bids farewell to Andromache and Astyanax before leading the Trojans in battle is very close to the aesthetic effect of the 'englisches Dorf at Hohenheim, for it too is seen as bringing the emotions and the intellect into a harmonious equilibrium: 'Man fühlt sich tätig, klar und entschieden: die schönste Wirkung, die die plastische Kunst bezweckt. Das Auge wird gereizt und erquickt, die Phantasie belebt, der Geist aufgeregt, das Herz erwärmt und entzündet, der Verstand beschäftigt und befriedigt' (XXII, 308). Schiller not only regards the garden as contributing to the development of mankind by encouraging harmony within the individual; he also ascribes to it a historical significance. In his description of Hohenheim, Rapp argued that the garden could only be fully appreciated in high summer. Schiller, however, is less interested in the season than in the

Ober den Gartenkalender auf das Jahr 1795


notion that the visitor could only enjoy the full aesthetic effect of the garden if he approached it from the direction of Stuttgart. Schiller's description of the way from Stuttgart to Hohenheim clearly shows his familiarity with and love of his native Swabian countryside and his openness towards impressions from the natural world. He sees the 'Weg von Stuttgart nach Hohenheim' (XXII,290) as the symbolic representation of the history of landscape gardening. The orchards, vineyards and farms alongside the road from Stuttgart represent the first stage of landscape cultivation, where Man's physical need to feed himself determined the manner in which he shaped his environment. In contrast, the long avenues which link Hohenheim with the open country represent the French garden, the second stage in the history of landscape gardening. The symbolic representation of the third stage in the history of garden design is the 'sogenanntes englisches Dorf (XXII,291), the main part of Hohenheim garden. More importantly, this actual landscape symbolising the history of landscape gardening is, for Schiller, also the symbolic representation of the three stages of the history of mankind as expounded in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. The visitor approaching the garden this way thus passes through all the stages of civilisation. The first stage of Man's development, when he was in complete harmony with his natural environment, corresponds to the first stage of landscape cultivation. The regimented avenues of poplar trees leading to Hohenheim palace represent the advent of the French style in garden design and thus symbolise the increasing advance of culture, the second stage of Man's development, while the artificiality and degenerate excesses of culture are symbolised by the lavish and grand interior decoration of the palace. This extravagant splendour prompts the visitor to long for the simplicity of Nature and to seek out the 'englisches Dorf at Hohenheim: 'Durch den Glanz, der hier [=im Schloss] von allen Seiten das Auge drückt, und durch die kunstreiche Architektur der Zimmer und des Ameublement wird das Bedürfnis nach - Simplizität bis zu dem höchsten Grade getrieben und der ländlichen Natur, die den Reisenden auf einmal in dem sogenannten englischen Dorfe empfängt, der feierlichste Triumph bereitet' (XXII, 290-91). The 'englisches Dorf thus functions as a welcome antidote to the degenerate excesses and artificiality of culture as represented by the palace. This 'Return to Nature' is, however, very different from a return to Man's original state, for the 'englisches Dorf with its flourishing rural colony built in the midst of the relics of a splendid civilisation is not the Nature


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

from which Man set out: 'Die Natur, die wir in dieser englischen Anlage linden, ist diejenige nicht mehr, von der wir ausgegangen waren. Es ist eine mit Geist beseelte und durch Kunst exaltierte Natur, die nun nicht bloß den einfachen, sondern selbst den durch Kultur verwöhnten Menschen befriedigt und, indem sie den erstem zum Denken reizt, den letztern zur Empfindung zurückfuhrt' (XXII,291). The 'englisches Dorf is the symbolic representation of the third and most advanced stage of Man's development, where all the advantages of culture and the prerogative of Man's reason are combined with the simplicity of Nature. As such, it provokes an aesthetic response in the visitor, for it restores balance in both the simple and the overcivilised man. By returning to Nature as represented by Hohenheim garden, modern Man thus ensures that he will not merely regress to the unconsciousness which he enjoyed in 'Arcadia', Man's original state, but will be carried forward to his perfection in 'Elysium'. In Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, written shortly after the review, Schiller contrasts examples of literary works which illustrate the pure concept of the satire, elegy and idyll with those which do not. This pattern is already prefigured in the Gartenkalender review, for Schiller ends the review by contrasting Hohenheim garden with Schwetzingen and Seifersdorfer Tal, which he regards as degenerate manifestations of the art of landscape gardening. Schiller was well acquainted with Seifersdorfer Tal through his friendship with Körner, who lived in Dresden during the 1780s. In a letter to Schiller of 19 October 1787, Körner describes the garden in some detail and recommends it to him as 'sehenswerth'.15 Schiller's attitude, however, is revealed by the fact that, as far as we know, he neither acknowledged nor carried out the request of Tina von Brühl, the creator of the garden, conveyed to him in Körner's letter of 1 July 1788, that he should compose an inscription for the Altar of Truth which had been erected in her garden. In Über den moralischen Nutzen ästhetischer Sitten of 1793, vulgar sentimentality plays no part in Schiller's interpretation of Prince Leopold von Braunschweig's sacrifice of his own life in an attempt to save others, for he sees it as a moral act prompted by reason which overruled the demand of the senses for self-preservation (XXI,32-34). In contrast, in Seifersdorfer Tal, the Prince's self-sacrifice is glorified with all the tearful


See Brießvechsel zwischen Schiller und Kömer von 1784 bis zum Tode Schillers, mit Einleitung von Ludwig Geiger, 4 vols (Stuttgart, no date), I, 156.

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'Schwärmerei' typical of this garden.16 It is this sentimentality and the affectation of the many inscriptions in the garden which Schiller criticises in the Gartenkalender review: 'Das Urteil des Vf. [=Rapp] über das Seifersdorfer Tal bei Dresden wird jeder Leser von Geschmack, der diese Anlage in Augenschein genommen, unterschreiben und sich mit demselben nicht enthalten können, eine Empfindsamkeit, welche Sittensprüche, auf eigne Täfelchen geschrieben, an die Bäume hängt, für affektiert zu erklären' (XXII,291). The garden clearly does not fulfil the demand that a landscape garden should represent the synthesis of polarities and appeal to both the intellect and the emotions, for as Schiller was to stress in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, a feeling for Nature characterised by vulgar sentimentality is worthless and of no aesthetic value, for it satisfies only one part of the human psyche and encourages resignation, quiescence and physical inertia. In the light of this evidence, it is puzzling that Schiller should recommend Becker's description and illustrations of Seifersdorfer Tal to Goethe in a letter of 23 December 179S: 'Haben Sie denn auch die schönen Abbildungen vom Seifersdorfer Thal mit Herrn Beckers (in Dresden) Beschreibungen gesehen? Als einem so großen Liebhaber von Kunstgärten und sentimentalischen Produktionen empfehle ich Ihnen dieses Werk. Es verdient, neben Rackenitz Schrift, eine gelegentliche würdige Erwähnung in den Hören' (XXVIII, 141). By 1795, Goethe was hardly a 'Liebhaber von sentimentalischen Produktionen' as Schiller suggests, for as early as 1778 he had, in the Triumph der Empfindsamkeit, satirised the taste for sentimentality in landscape gardens and literature,17 and in the 1790s he even lost interest in Weimar park. It is thus not surprising that Goethe's response to Schiller's recommendation of Becker's work is curt and dismissive. In his reply of 26 December 1795, he describes the work as 'die Abbildung des Seifersdorfer Unwesens' and refers to Tina in similarly unflattering terms as 'die Trude' (XXXVI,i,64). Schiller's suggestion that Becker's work should be given a favourable mention in Die Horen is particularly difficult to comprehend in view of his intention that the journal should educate the wider reading public about the realm of beauty,



For a description of the memorial to the Prince in Seifersdorfer Tal and its intended effect on the onlooker see Becker, pp.43-44. See also Dieter Hennebo, who sees the year 1778 as marking 'die Abkehr Goethes von der empfindsamen Gartenkunst': 'Goethes Beziehungen zur Gartenkunst seiner Zeit', JFDH (1979), 90-119 (p.102).


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

good taste and the ideal of ennobled humanity.18 A possible explanation is that he saw the garden's albeit degenerate appeal to the emotions as helping the excessively rational man to achieve a harmonious balance, but ultimately, his enthusiasm for Becker's work rests uneasily alongside his condemnation of the garden in the Gartenkalender review. We have seen that Schiller's enthusiasm for Schwetzingen at the time of writing the Thalia version of Don Carlos may have had some bearing on his fashioning of the double setting of the royal gardens of Aranjuez. However, some measure of the extent to which his opinion of the garden had changed by 1794 can be gauged from his comments at the end of the Gartenkalender review, where he describes the juxtaposition of mosques with Greek temples at Schwetzingen as the product of a 'barbarischer Geschmack' (XXII,291). He criticises Schwetzingen because he does not consider that it fulfils the demands of the first part of the review, for while the diversity of architectural styles in Hohenheim is praised for showing evidence of a 'geistvolle Einheit' (XXII,290), that in Schwetzingen is dismissed contemptuously as a chaotic 'buntes Gemisch' (XXII,291). This contrast between Schiller's views of Hohenheim and Schwetzingen highlights the main weakness of the review, for as always, he encountered difficulties in his attempt to illustrate a priori reasoning with actual examples. As we have seen, he insists that all the disparate elements in the Hohenheim garden form a harmonious whole because of the single idea underlying its composition. However, in many accounts of Hohenheim, the buildings in the garden are criticised for the lack of unity in their architectural styles. In 1797, on his way to Switzerland, Goethe visited Hohenheim in the company of Dannecker, and his description of the garden highlights the subjectivity of Schiller's approach. In direct contrast with Schiller, he maintains that there is no unifying characteristic linking the disparate architectural styles in the garden: 'Nur machen viele kleine Dinge zusammen leider kein großes. ' 1 9 In his account of the garden, the Prince de Ligne refers to the presence of Arabic and Oriental elements alongside English elements in the garden: 'Les Turcs et les Chinois n'ont pas été oubliés, on y trouve même le Japon; il y a aussi de l'Anglais.' 20 i ft 19


See Die Hören: Einladung zur Mitarbeit, Ankündigung and Gekürzte Ankündigung, XXII, 103-10 and Schiller's description of the aims of Die Horen in a letter to Friedrich Christian von Augustenburg of 9 January 1796. Reise in die Schweiz 1797, GA, XII, 132. Coup d'oeil sur Beloeil et sur une grande partie des Jardins de l'Europe, Nouvelle Édition, publiée avec une introduction et des notes par le Comte Ernest de Ganay (Paris, 1922 [1786]), p. 126.

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This comment too suggests a chaotic mixture of disparate architectural styles which could hardly be seen as a 'geistvolle Einheit' as Schiller argues. Modern critics also stress the chaotic variety of architectural styles which caused the intention to achieve a sublime effect to misfire. The garden historian Christopher Thacker, for example, states that 'the sixtyodd features, all on a fairly small scale, and dotted around the park, were of such an indiscriminate mixture - medieval castles, Chinese pagodas and rococo dairies - that the grandeur, melancholy and strangeness of the sublime degenerated into the bizarre and almost the grotesque'. 21 Schiller also overlooked what others saw as the artificiality of Hohenheim. In the theoretical section of the review, he had criticised the tendency on the part of the English gardener to seek variety by crowding as many different scenes as possible into his garden. However, in several eyewitness accounts, Hohenheim is seen as embodying precisely this fault. Although Hirschfeld's description of the garden is couched in predominantly glowing terms, even he expresses the reservation that it appears rather too crowded with buildings, and hopes that the immature trees and bushes will soon grow and separate the disparate scenes, creating a greater sense of space (Th,V,351). Like Hirschfeld, Goethe too criticises the garden for being overcrowded and ridicules the buildings themselves for being purely decorative and serving no useful purpose: 'Der ganze Garten ist mit kleinen und größern Gebäuden übersäet, die mehr oder weniger teils einen engen, teils einen Repräsentationsgeist verraten. Die wenigsten von diesen Gebäuden sind auch nur für den kürzesten Aufenthalt angenehm oder brauchbar. ' 2 2 And Friedrich Meinecke argues that Schiller was so enthusiastic about Hohenheim that he did not notice the contrived character of the 'englisches Dorf, and compares the artificial manner in which an idea was imposed on the landscape at Hohenheim to Schiller's tendency to allow his thought to dictate the images in his lyric: 'Daß Schiller sich durch die "Idee" bestechen ließ und das eklektisch Gewollte und Zurechtgemachte der Veranstaltung nicht empfand, erinnert uns an die empfindlichsten Schwächen seiner Dichtungen, deren Gestalten immer mehr gewollt als gewachsen sind.' 23




The History of Gardens (London, 1979), p.218. GA, XII, 132. Goethe also refers contemptuously to Hohenheim as 'der mit unzähligen Ausgeburten einer unruhigen und kleinlichen Phantasie Gbersäete Garten' in a letter to Herzog Karl August of 11 September 1797: GA, XII, 157. Meinecke, p.72.


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

In order to demonstrate that the a priori concept of the German garden is fulfilled in practice, Schiller thus ignores those elements of Hohenheim which do not conform to his theory. For example, the presence of a mosque with its adjoining garden for exotic birds 24 could not easily be explained by the idea that a rural colony had been built in the midst of the ruins of a Roman settlement. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties involved in attempting to illustrate theoretical arguments with an empirical example, Schiller successfully legitimises landscape gardening as a worthwhile activity which can produce beautiful works of art with potentially the same aesthetic effect as sculpture and painting. His insistence that Hohenheim could further Man's aesthetic education and so contribute to taking him forward to the perfection of 'Elysium' proves that he regarded the new feeling for Nature as playing a significant role in the life and development of modem Man.

II. Schemata über den Dilettantismus We have seen that in the Gartenkalender review, Schiller establishes the idea of a 'middle way' in garden design. In his final work on gardens, Über den Dilettantismus of 1799, he reacts against his previous concentration on the English garden and redresses the balance by emphasising its dangers and by giving greater stress to the French garden as the counterbalancing element. Dilettantism was a peculiarly eighteenth-century phenomenon.25 In general, the term had pejorative connotations and was used to criticise incompetent and amateur artists who merely dabbled in art as a hobby. Schiller was well acquainted with the phenomenon of dilettantism. He uses the term in the context of landscape gardening at the beginning of the Gartenkalender review, and in Über die nothwendigen Grenzen beim Gebrauch schöner Formen of 1795 he describes the inexperienced artist who merely depicts his own subjective feelings and 'Schwärmerei' in his work as a 'bloßer Dilettant' (XXI,20). In addition, in the Vorerinnerung to the second volume of his poems, the mature Schiller shows his distaste for his See Heideloff, 'Grundriss des Gartens in Hohenheim' (unpaged). See Helmut Koopmann, 'Dilettantismus. Bemerkungen zu einem Phänomen der Goethezeit', in Studien zur Goethezeit: Festschrift JUr Lieselotte Blumenthal, herausgegeben von Helmut Holtzhauer und Bernhard Zeller unter Mitwirkung von Hans Henning (Weimar, 1968), pp.178-208 and Hans Rudolf Vaget, 'Der Dilettant: Eine Skizze der Wort- und Bedeutungsgeschichte', JDSG, 14 (1970), 131-58.

Schemata über den Dilettantismus


early poems by describing them as 'die wilden Produkte eines jugendlichen Dilettantism, die unsichern Versuche einer anfangenden Kunst und eines mit sich selbst noch nicht einigen Geschmacks' (XXII, 112). In all these cases Schiller clearly differentiates between a true artist and a dilettante, and his contempt for the latter is obvious. The sketch Über den Dilettantismus was the product of the increasing collaboration between Schiller and Goethe in the late 1790s. In the main, this greater co-operation arose from their increasing sense of beleaguered isolation as the early Romantics gained ground and challenged their views about art and literature in rival journals such as the Athenäum. In Über den Dilettantismus, Schiller and Goethe set themselves up as the arbiters of good taste, attempting to regenerate contemporary art and educate the nation in matters of taste by launching a polemical attack on the manifestations of dilettantism in such disparate art forms as drawing, dancing, architecture, music, landscape gardening, poetry and acting. Although the sketch remained a fragment, it does in fact have a coherent structure and layout, for in each section the advantages and disadvantages of dilettantism for the individual, for art and for the community and nation as a whole are analysed. In my examination of the sketch I shall concentrate on the section on landscape gardening, although I shall also refer to other sections in so far as they are relevant to the art of landscape gardening. In view of Schiller's involvement with dilettantism, any attempt to ascribe Über den Dilettantismus mainly to Goethe must be regarded as erroneous. Vaget argues that Goethe's contribution was much more important than Schiller's, but in declaring that Schiller had little contact with or interest in dilettantism because of his 'ganze geistig-künstlerische Konstitution', Vaget is merely perpetuating the erroneous view that he was an ivory tower aesthete who cut himself off from the external world. 26 Ursula Wertheim, Koopmann and von Wiese present a more balanced view by arguing that Goethe and Schiller contributed in equal measure to the sketch.27 More than half of the original sketch is in Schiller's handwriting, and as Koopmann points out, it is therefore hardly likely that his contribution was insignificant: 'Man wird die Schemata über den Dilettant26


'Das Bild vom Dilettanten bei Moritz, Schiller und Goethe', JFDH (1970), 1-31 (p.24). See also Gerhart Baumann's article 'Goethe: Über den Dilettantismus', Euphorion, 46 (1952), 348-69, where he argues that Goethe alone was responsible for the sketch. Wertheim, 'Das Schema über den Dilettantismus', VfB, 6 (Sonderheft, I960), 965-77 (pp.965-72), Koopmann, 'Dilettantismus. Bemerkungen' and von Wiese, 'Goethes und Schillers Schemata Ober den Dilettantismus', in von Wiese, Von Lessing bis Grabbe: Studien zur deutschen Klassik und Romantik (Düsseldorf, 1968), pp.58-107.


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

ismus aber ganz gewiß nicht uneingeschränkt Goethes Werken zurechnen dürfen - es ist kaum anzunehmen, daß Schiller hier bloße Schreiberdienste geleistet hat, und Schillers Anteil sollte in jeglicher Interpretation gebührend berücksichtigt werden.' 28 In fact, I shall suggest that in at least one section of the sketch Schiller may well have been the main contributor. In the section of the sketch entitled 'Baukunst', Schiller and Goethe are critical of the vogue for landscape gardening, claiming that it had encouraged dilettantism in architecture: 'Besonders Gartenliebhaberey hat diesen Dilettantism sehr befördert' (XXI,Nr 4). They are clearly referring to the craze for architectural embellishment in English gardens, for they criticise the dilettante architect for constructing buildings which have only a decorative function and serve no useful purpose: 'Baudilettantism, ohne den schönen Zweck erfüllen zu können, schadet gewöhnlich dem physischen Zweck der Baukunst, der Brauchbarkeit und Bequemlichkeit' (XXI, Nr 4). As manifestations of architectural dilettantism in contemporary Germany, Goethe and Schiller cite 'a)Rohes Holz, Rinden etc b)Schwere Architektur dorische Säulen c)Nachahmung gothischer Baukunst. d)Architectur der Phantasmen und Empfindungen' (XXI,Nr 4). These examples show that they were irritated by the fantastic character of the buildings constructed in landscape gardens and by the craze for quaint, rustic buildings, imitation Greek temples and Gothic ruins in the English garden. This criticism is reiterated in the section entitled 'Gartenkunst', where flimsy and insubstantial buildings are seen to be the inevitable product of dilettantism in landscape gardening: 'Die dabey vorkommende Gebäude werden leicht, spindelartig, hölzern, Brettern pp aufgeführt und zerstören den Begriff solider Baukunst. Ja sie heben das Gefühl für sie auf. Die Strohdächer Bretterae Blendungen, alles macht eine Neigung zu Kartenhaus Architecktur' (XXI,Nr 6). The remark that the buildings are 'spindelartig' is an obvious reference to the imitation Gothic ruin with its spindly turrets, its pointed windows and arches and its flimsy appearance,29 while criticism of rustic buildings is implicit in the comment 'Die Strohdächer Bretterae Blendungen'. Goethe and Schiller are not, however, content with criticising merely one aspect of the English garden, the vogue for architectural embellish'Dilettantismus. Bemerkungen', pp.186-87. Compare the Classicist Vasari's indictment of Gothic architecture: 'Doorways are ornamented with columns which are slender and twisted like a screw and which cannot have the strength to sustain a weight, however light it may be. . . . Indeed they [=Gothic buildings] have more the appearance of being made of paper than of stone or marble.1 Quoted from Robson-Scott, pp.5-6.

Schemata aber den Dilettantismus


ment. They also attack the excesses to which the English and Chinese styles in garden design were prone, citing them as manifestations of dilettantism in contemporary landscape gardening in Germany. Although Über den Dilettantismus was a joint venture on which Goethe and Schiller collaborated, there are grounds for thinking that in this section of the sketch Schiller's influence was dominant,30 for there are several striking similarities between his criticism in other areas of his work of the aberrant manifestations of the modern feeling for Nature and the criticism of dilettantism in landscape gardening in Über den Dilettantismus. Just as the polemic of the Gartenkalender review was directed at the excesses of the English garden, so here the argument is that arbitrariness, lawlessness and lack of restraint are characteristic of dilettantism in landscape gardening: 'Die Gartenliebhaberey geht auf etwas endloses hinaus l)weil sie in der Idee nicht bestimmt und begrenzt ist 2)weil das Materiale als ewig zufällig sich immer verändert und der Idee ewig entgegen strebt' (XXI,Nr 6). Similarly, Schiller's criticism in the Gartenkalender review of the tendency of the English gardener to take the chaotic lawlessness of the imagination as his sole model is echoed in the comment that the dilettante gardener treats reality as though it were merely a figment of the imagination: 'Reales wird als ein Phantasiewerk behandelt' (XXI,Nr 6). And it is claimed that the landscape garden can never be seen to have any aesthetic value or to be a beautiful work of art because the dilettante gardener is not disciplined enough to follow laws in matters of taste such as Schiller advanced in both the Matthisson and Gartenkalender reviews: 'Sie [=die Gartenliebhaberey] verewigt die herrschende Unart der Zeit, im aesthetischen imbedingt und gesetzlos seyn zu wollen und willkührlich zu phantasieren, indem sie sich nicht, wie wohl andere Künste corrigieren und in der Zucht halten läßt' (XXI,Nr 6). 31 Dilettantism in landscape gardening is also criticised for destroying the sublimity of Nature: 'Sie verkleinert das erhabene in der Natur, und hebt es auf, indem sie es nachahmt' (XXI,Nr 6). This is of course reminiscent of Schiller's criticism of the excesses of the English garden in the Gartenkalender review, where he



See Walther Rehm, 'Prinz Rokoko im alten Garten: Eine Eichendorff-Studie', JFDH (1962), 97-207 (p.147). Schiller uses the same criteria to attack Romantic literature, as his description of Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde in a letter to Goethe of 19 July 1799 shows: 'Auch hier ist das ewig formlose und fragmentarische, und eine höchst seltsame Paarung des Nebulistischen mit dem Characteristischen . . . diese Schrift ist der Gipfel modemer Unform und Unnatur' (XXX, 73).


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

argued that the sublimity of natural phenomena was destroyed when they were imitated on a diminutive scale in a landscape garden. Dilettantism in landscape gardening is also censured for having the balefiil consequence of encouraging 'sentimentale und phantastische Nullität' (XXI,Nr 6). In this context the term 'sentimental' is used in a purely negative manner and has none of the positive values associated with the 'sentimental' genius in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung. The dilettante landscape gardener is, rather, the embodiment of the caricature of the 'sentimental' genius as described in Schiller's essay, for he takes refuge in a fantasy realm and severs all links with objective reality, hence falling prey to the dangers of arbitrariness and pathological subjectivity. Similarly, when Goethe and Schiller describe dilettantism in landscape gardening as 'Spielwerk' (XXI,Nr 6), this term has none of the positive associations of the concept of the play drive in the Aesthetic Letters.32 In the Schema zu "Der Sammler und die Seinigen" included in Über den Dilettantismus, beauty and artistic truth are seen to arise only where there is a synthesis of seriousness and play. Where there is a predominance of one over the other in a work of art, its aesthetic value is diminished and it will be unable to speak to the whole Man and bring the forces in his psyche into a harmonious equilibrium. Goethe and Schiller cite two disadvantages of dilettantism in landscape gardening for the community as a whole: 'Vermischung von Kunst und Natur' and 'Vorliebnehmen mit dem Schein' (XXI,Nr 6). As in the case of the term 'Spielwerk', the phrase 'Vermischung von Kunst und Natur' has none of the positive connotations of the ideal synthesis of Art and Nature repeatedly advocated by Schiller. In the context of Über den Dilettantismus, the reference to the mixing of Art and Nature has only pejorative connotations, for it implies criticism of the dilettante landscape gardener's desire to create a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' in which organic elements are mingled indiscriminately with inorganic elements such as buildings, statues and inscriptions. Similarly, the criticism that dilettantism in landscape gardening encourages a view of the world which makes do with semblance may at first appear perplexing in the light of Schiller's championing of art as aesthetic semblance. In the Aesthetic Letters and the poem Die Künstler, semblance has unequivocally positive associations, for art as semblance is described as ennobling all aspects of reality. However, in Über den Gebrauch des TX

See also von Wiese, 'Goethes und Schillers Schemata', p.68, who stresses that 'bloßes Spiel' and 'Spielwerk' must be differentiated from the concept of the 'Spieltrieb'.

Schemata itber den Dilettantismus


Chors in der Tragödie, Schiller argues that semblance is only aesthetic where the ideal and the real, play and seriousness are combined. If an artist merely faithfully copies reality his work will fail to set Man free because it is characterised solely by seriousness: 'Emst zwar, doch unerfreulich ist die Stimmung, mit der uns ein solcher Künstler und Dichter entläßt, und wir sehen uns durch die Kunst selbst, die uns befreien sollte, in die gemeine enge Wirklichkeit peinlich zurück versezt' (X,9). At the other extreme, an artist who merely plays with his material can never hope to attain the art of the ideal and the artistic truth of aesthetic semblance: Wem hingegen zwar eine rege Phantasie aber ohne Gemüth und Charakter zu Theil geworden, der wird sich um keine Wahrheit bekümmern; sondern mit dem Weltstoff nur spielen, nur durch phantastische und bizarre Combinationen zu Oberraschen suchen, und wie sein ganzes Thun nur Schaum und Schein ist, so wird er zwar für den Augenblick unteiiialten, aber im Gemüth nichts erbauen und begründen. Sein Spiel ist kein poetisches. Phantastische Gebilde willkührlich aneinander reihen, heißt nicht ins Ideale gehen. (X,9)

Because he merely plays with reality in a frivolous and fantastic manner, the dilettante gardener, like the dilettante artist described in Über den Gebrauch des Chors in der Tragödie, can only create works of art characterised by empty semblance which, unlike works exhibiting aesthetic semblance, are incapable of making Man whole. Like 'Spielwerk' and 'Vermischung von Kirnst und Natur', 'Schein' is thus used in a purely negative sense in Über den Dilettantismus. Although Goethe's and Schiller's comments on dilettantism in landscape gardening are predominantly negative, they do not deny that it has some positive aspects, which they cite as 'Ideales im Realen. Streben nach Form in formlosen Massen. Wahl. Schöne Zusammenstellung. Ein Bild aus der Wirklichkeit zu machen, kurz, erster Eintritt in die Kunst' (XXI,Nr 6). Dilettantism in landscape gardening is thus not without value, for it involves some attempt at the formal ordering of formless natural landscapes and enables the novice to gain some experience of and acquaintance with the laws of art, even if this knowledge never advances beyond a very basic level. Goethe and Schiller also regard dilettantism in landscape gardening as having some value for the community as a whole, reiterating the view widely held in the eighteenth century that environment


Schiller and the English Garden 1794-99

and social morality are closely linked: 'Eine reinliche und vollends schöne Umgebung wirkt immer wohlthätig auf die Gesellschaft' (XXI,Nr 6). 33 Because, by contrast, the French style in garden design involves the successful formal ordering of formless natural landscapes, Goethe and Schiller are concerned with stressing the relative merits of the French garden compared with the English and Chinese tastes in garden design: 'Französische Gartenkunst von ihrer guten Seite, und besonders vis a vis des neuesten Geschmacks betrachtet' (XXI,Nr 6). This is of course consistent with Schiller's approach in the Gartenkalender review, where, because he wanted a balance of opposites, he gave an objective evaluation of the merits of the French taste in garden design as long as it was not excessively regular. It would, however, be erroneous to suggest that Schiller felt only distaste for the English garden in the late 1790s. It must be stressed that in Über den Dilettantismus, as in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung and the Gartenkalender review, he directed his criticism at the more exaggerated manifestations of the English garden and not indiscriminately at the English taste in garden design as a whole, for he had always argued that it had a legitimate basis. Indeed, Thomas Carlyle suggests that after Schiller's move to Weimar in 1799, the Weimar park, laid out by Goethe in the English style, became one of his favourite haunts: He [=Schiller] still loved solitary walks: in the Park at Weimar he might frequently be seen wandering among the groves and remote avenues, with a note-book in his hand . . . if any one appeared in sight, he would dart into another alley, that his dream might not be broken. 'One of his favourite resorts,' we are told, 'was the thickly-overshadowed rocky path which leads to the Römische Haus, a pleasure-house of the Duke's, built under the direction of Goethe. There he would often sit in the gloom of the crags, overgrown with cypresses and boxwood; shady hedges before him; not far from the murmur of a little brook, which there gushes in a smooth slaty channel, and where some verses of Goethe are cut upon a brown plate of stone, and fixed in the rock.'34



Sulzer frequently stresses this link in the Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste, Reprographischer Nachdruck der 2. vermehrten Auflage Leipzig 1792-94, 4 vols (Hildesheim, 1967-70), I (1970), 315 [article 'Baukunst'], H (1967), 298 [article 'Gartenkunst'] and m (1967), 145-48 [article 'Landschaft']. The Life of Friedrich Schiller: Comprehending an Examination of his Works (London, no date), p,150. See also Christiane von Wurmb's record of conversations with Schiller in 1801 which took place in Weimar park: XLD, 306 and XLII, 314.

Schemata über den Dilettantismus


We have seen that the young Schiller, like the majority of his contemporaries, was an enthusiastic and uncritical supporter of the English style in garden design. However, prompted by an increasing awareness of the shortcomings of the English garden in the late 1780s, he began to prescribe the qualities which the ideal English garden should possess, advocating the model of 'ordered chaos' in the Kallias letters and of a synthesis with the opposite principle in the Gartenkalender review. Although still very critical of the French garden in the Kallias letters, his advocacy of a landscape showing 'ordered chaos' must be differentiated from the lawless freedom for which the majority of English garden theorists called. In the Gartenkalender review and Über den Dilettantismus, which could be seen as a postscript to the Gartenkalender review, the criticism which Schiller had voiced in the Kallias letters of the principle of total freedom in landscape became strident polemic, as he attacked vulgar sentimentality, lack of restraint and arbitrariness in matters of taste. With his emphasis on the dangers of the English garden and his new appreciation of the French garden in Über den Dilettantismus, Schiller seems almost to have come full circle, for while he started out by condemning the French garden he ends with a qualified acceptance of it. Because the development of his views has come full circle, he has nothing more to say on landscape gardening, and it is for this reason, coupled with his general shift of interest from the balance with which the Aesthetic Letters are concerned to the sublimity of the later plays, that after 1799, sublime natural landscapes were to replace garden landscapes as the dominant leitmotif in his thought and works.

Chapter Five: Schiller and Exoticism Before turning to the sublime proper, I shall examine Schiller's attitude towards the exotic. As we have seen in Chapter One, the fascination of the exotic for the eighteenth-century mind resided in the aura of mystery with which distant and far-flung areas of the world were shrouded and in the belief that they represented an earthly paradise. The exotic could, in fact, be viewed as related to the sublime, for being untouched by civilisation, exotic and sublime landscapes shared an element of mystery which made them attractive to the Moderns who had experienced the excesses of culture.

I. Schiller and Travel Reports Throughout his life, Schiller voiced his dislike of the climate of Northern Europe. In his correspondence he frequently cursed the damp German climate with its long, dreary winters, which exacerbated his lung condition and forced him to remain indoors for long periods. In addition, the rate at which he worked was adversely affected by bad weather conditions, as a letter to Körner of 2 June 1795 shows: 'Seit 14 Tagen habe ich mich wieder in großer Noth befunden. Die Fortsetzung meiner Briefe für die Hören drängte mich, und das üble Wetter wollte mir gar keine Ruhe gönnen' (XXVII, 188).1 In particular, progress on Wallenstein seemed to depend entirely on whether the sun was shining or not. In a letter to Goethe of 23 October 1796, Schiller longs for the inspiration which the appearance of the sun would bring: 'Die Jahrszeit drückt mich wie Sie und ich meyne oft, mit einem heitern Sonnenblick müßte es gehen' (XXVIII,317). And, driven to the point of desperation by the dreary winter weather, he declares in a letter to Goethe of 11 January 1797 that he has resolved to buy a summer-

See also Schiller's letter to Goethe of 8 December 1795.

Schiller and Travel Reports


house in the spring, for he is convinced that the warmer weather will aid his literary creativity: Unthätig bin ich gar nicht gewesen, wiewohl in diesen düstem drückenden Wintertagen alles später reift, und die rechte Gestalt sich schwerer findet. . . . Die erste Bedingung eines glücklichen Fortgangs meiner Albeit ist eine leichtere Luft, und Bewegung, ich bin daher entschloßen, mit den ersten Regungen des Frühjahrs den Ort zu verändern und mir, womöglich in Weimar, ein Gartenhaus, wo heizbare Zimmer sind auszusuchen. Das ist mir jetzt ein dringendes Bedürfniß. (XXIX,34)

Not surprisingly, therefore, Schiller sought out the sun at every opportunity. Caroline von Wolzogen reports that he occupied the top storey of his house in Weimar in order to take full advantage of the sunlight, and he even tried to provide a substitute for the light of the sun by hanging crimson curtains at the windows of his study: 'Seine [ = Schillers] Zimmer hatten die Mittags- und Morgensonne. Ein carmoisinseidner Vorhang war vor dem Fenster, an dem sein Arbeitstisch stand, angebracht. Er sagte uns, daß der röthliche Schimmer belebend auf seine productive Stimmung wirke' (pp.297-98). In view of Schiller's antipathy towards the German winter, it is not surprising that he should try to compensate for the climate in which he lived by reading beguiling descriptions of exotic lands where the sun shone constantly over a lush and fertile landscape. His interest in travel reports may well have been heightened by the fact that several of his acquaintances had made voyages of discovery. Georg Förster had accompanied Cook on his journeys to the South Sea Islands and the Baron von Wolzogen and von Wurmb, to whom Schiller was related by marriage, had travelled to Africa and the East Indies.3 Be that as it may, Schiller's enthusiasm for travel reports with their descriptions of distant lands remained constant throughout his life and is well documented. The inventory of the books which Schiller had purchased from the Hoffmann bookshop in Weimar lists several travel reports, including Joachim Heinrich Campe's Neue Sammlung merkwürdiger Reisebeschreibungen für die Jugend, Cooks Reisen, See also Schiller's letters to Goethe of 27 February 1795, 22 December 1797, 29 December 1797, 13 February 1798, 11 May 1798, 7 September 1798 and 18 December 1798, Schiller's letter to Kömer of 23 January 1797 and Karl August Böttiger's comment of 22 December 1796 (XLII, 220-21). Schiller had a copy of the Briefe des Herrn von Wurmb und des Herrn Baron von Wollzogen auf ihren Reisen nach Afrika und Ostindien in den Jahren 1774 bis 1792 in his library: see Robert Boxberger, 'Schillers Leetüre', Archiv für Litteraturgeschichte, 2 (1872), 198-216 (p.201).


Schiller and Exoticism

Sparrmann's Reise ans Kap der guten Hoffnung and Wimpfen's Neuste Reisen nach St. DomingoIn a letter to Charlotte von Lengefeld of 27 November 1788, he applauds her acquisition of travel reports and speaks of the vicarious pleasure afforded by reading accounts of the adventures of intrepid seafarers on voyages of discovery: 'Es ist gut daß Sie Sich Ihr kleines Zimmer durch Reisebeschreibungen recht groß und weit machen. Mir ist es immer ein unaussprechliches Vergnügen, mich im möglichst kleinsten körperlichen Raum im Geiste auf der großen Erde herum zu tummeln' (XXV, 144). And Caroline von Wolzogen states that he was fascinated by voyages of discovery and exotic landscapes and peoples: 'Reisen interessirten ihn sehr. In unsern Gesprächen wanderten wir über die ganze bekannte Erde, durch alle Zonen. Die Natur und besonders die Verschiedenheit der Menschen und ihre Zustände zogen unsre Betrachtung an' (pp.229-30). Schiller's enthusiasm for travel reports actually increased towards the end of his life when he was frequently incapacitated by bouts of illness and was confined indoors for long periods. Burgsdorff reports in 1796 that when Schiller was unable to sleep because of illness, he whiled away the long winter nights with the reading of travel reports: 'In den vielen schlaflosen Nächten liest er viele Reisebeschreibungen, Seefahrten' (XLII,220). Moreover, in his last few years, his reading of tales of voyages round the world compensated in some measure for his own physical immobility. In a letter to Goethe of 28 January 1804, he describes how the memoirs of a circumnavigator transported him in his imagination to distant oceans: 'Ich habe die Memoires von einem tüchtigen Seemann gelesen, die mich im mittelländischen und indischen Meer herumgeführt haben, und in ihrer Art bedeutend genug sind' (XXXII, 105). And Caroline von Wolzogen reports that as his illness took hold and reality became ever more unbearable, he longed to travel to distant lands: 'Eine große Sehnsucht nach mannigfacher Weltanschauung auf Reisen wandelte ihn in den letzten Lebensjahren an. Wir erfreuten uns an Planen, und suchten den kürzesten Weg zum Meere, das er sehr zu sehen wünschte; aber es blieb bei diesen' (p.318).-i However, it was only in the very last years of his life that he had any wish to travel to these exotic lands himself. Escapism was certainly not See Albeit Leitzmann's review of Ludwig Bellermann's edition of Schiller's works, Euphorion, 6 (1899), 142-49 (p.145). For a detailed account of Schiller's interest in travel reports, see Arthur Rudolph Schultz, 'Schiller and the Literature of Travel' (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1941).

Schiller and Travel Reports


one of the reasons for his interest in the travel reports, as is shown by his comment that despite its unfavourable climate, his homeland had brought him more happiness than he could ever find in an exotic land: Daß wir doch auf diesen schlechtesten Theil des Globus verbannt sind, wenn andre die es nicht werth sind, unter einem schönen lachenden Himmel leben! Es thut mir oft wehe, daß mir und meinen Freunden deren schöne Seele sich unter einem lieblichem Clima so viel reicher und schöner entfaltet haben würde, ein so schlechtes Loos gefallen ist. Man kommt nur auf einmal auf die Erde, und soll gerade mit dem dürftigsten Platz auf ihr vorlieb nehmen. . . . So aber gebe ich mich zufrieden, und sage zu mir, daß ich nur auf thüringischer Erde die Freunde finden konnte, die ich fand - und daß ich der Saale mehr zu danken habe als der Ganges mir hätte geben können.®

Indeed, as early as 1782, he expressed scepticism about the popular belief that by completely abandoning European culture and starting a new life on an exotic island, Germans would realise in practice the myth of the Golden Age and find eternal happiness. In the philosophical dialogue Der Spaziergang unter den Linden, the melancholic sceptic Wollmar illustrates his view that Man's search for happiness on earth will always be fruitless and end in disillusionment with the image of men on a voyage of discovery who brave the dangers of the ocean to seek out exotic lands only to fail in their futile attempt to attain happiness: Tausend und abermal tausend Segel fliegen ausgespannt, die glückliche Insel zu suchen im gestadlosen Meere und dieses goldene Vlies zu erobern. Sage mir doch, du Weiser, wie viel sind ihrer, die es finden? . . . Bang und schüchtern segelt es [=ein armes Vierteil der Menschen] ohne Kompaß im Geleit der bezüglichen Sterne auf dem furchtbaren Ozean fort, schon flimmt wie weißes Gewölk am Rande des Horizonts die glückliche Küste, Land ruft der Steuermann, und siehe! ein elendes Brettchen zerbirstet, das lecke Schiff versinkt hart am Gestade. Apparent ran nantes in gurgite vasto. Ohnmächtig kämpft sich der geschickteste Schwimmer zum Lande, ein Fremdling in der ätherischen Zone irrt er einsam umher, und sucht tränenden Augs seine nordische Heimat. (XX 11,77)

That Schiller continued to hold this view at the tum of the century is apparent from the poem Am Antritt des neuen Jahrhunderts: An ***, in which he expresses his irritation at the 'Südseeschwärmerei'7 of so many of his contemporaries by arguing that 'Arcadia' has no physical embodiment and that true and lasting happiness can only be found in the internal world of the human heart, the realm of dreams and poetry:

0 7

Letter to Charlotte von Lengefeld of 26 March 1789 (XXV, 232). The term is Winfried Volk's, p.62.


Schiller and Exoticism Alle Inseln spürt er [=der Britte], alle fernen Küsten - nur das Paradies nicht auf. Ach umsonst auf allen Länderchaiten Spähst du nach dem seligen Gebiet, Wo der Freiheit ewig grüner Garten, Wo der Menschheit schöne Jugend blüht. Endlos liegt die Welt vor deinen Blicken, Und die Schiffaith selbst ermißt sie kaum, Doch auf ihren unermeßnen Rücken Ist für zehen Glückliche nicht Raum. In des Herzens heilig stille Räume Mußt du fliehen aus des Lebens Drang, Freiheit ist nur in dem Reich der Träume, Und das Schöne blüht nur im Gesang. (II,i,362-63)

And in the poem An die Freunde of 1802, Schiller admits that there are many areas of the world which are more beautiful than Germany, but adds that the culture of his country more than compensates for deficiencies in its climate and natural environment: Freunde! Es giebt glücklichere Zonen, Als das Land, worinn wir leidlich wohnen, Wie der weitgereiste Wandrer spricht. Aber hat Natur uns viel entzogen, War die Kunst uns freundlich doch gewogen, Unser Herz erwärmt an ihrem Licht. Will der Lorbeer hier sich nicht gewöhnen, Wird die Myrthe unsers Winters Raub, Grünet doch, die Schläfe zu bekrönen, Uns der Rebe muntres Laub. (II,i,225)

It is thus clear that Schiller sought to distance himself from the conventional manner in which exotic lands were viewed in eighteenth-century Germany and that he had no sympathy with the aims of the societies which had been formed in Germany to recruit colonists for a new community in the South Seas. Schiller did not, however, just enjoy travel reports as a reader, for he was interested in the opportunities which exotic material offered to the writer. After reading Jonathan Carver's Travels through the Interior Parts of North America, he states in a letter to Goethe of 3 0 June 1797 that he is tempted to exploit the material: 'Ich habe einige Reminiscenzen aus einer Reise durch Nordamerika von Thomas Carver, und mir ist, als wenn sich diese Völkernatur in einem Lied artig darstellen ließe' (XXIX,94). And he carried out this intention in 1797 when he composed the poem Nadoweßische Todtenklage, based on Carver's description of the songs with

Schiller and Travel Reports


which the Sioux Indians mourned their dead heroes. However, in a letter to Goethe of 26 January 1798, he expresses doubts about the feasibility of any literary exploitation of the content of the travel reports. He declares that after having read Carsten Niebuhr's Beschreibung von Arabien and C. F. Volney's Reise nach Syrien und Aegypten in den Jahren 1783, 1784, 1785, he has become aware of how lucky he is to have been born in Europe.8 He states that all non-Europeans are incapable of attaining aesthetic perfection, for although they may show traits of realism and idealism, they never succeed in combining them in the aesthetic equilibrium which he presented as the ideal of humanity in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung.9 Although many of Schiller's literary characters lack aesthetic perfection, in this instance the non-Europeans' lack of aesthetic perfection seems to have made him unsure how to treat the material and hence to be wary of giving any work of literature a nonEuropean setting: Es ist doch wirklich unbegreiflich, daB die belebende Kraft im Menschen nur in einem so kleinen Theil der Welt wirksam ist, und jene ungeheuren Völkermassen für die menschliche Perfectibilität ganz und gar nicht zählen. Besonders merkwürdig ist es mir, daß es jenen Nationen und überhaupt allen NichtEuropaeem auf der Erde nicht sowohl an moralischen als an aesthetischen Anlagen gänzlich fehlt. Der Realism, so wie auch der Idealism zeigt sich bei ihnen, aber beide Anlagen fließen niemals in eine menschlich schöne Form zusammen. Ich hielt es wirklich für absolut unmöglich den Stoff zu einem epischen oder tragischen Gedichte in diesen VölkerMassen zu finden, oder einen solchen dahin zu verlegen. (XXIX, 196)

Schiller's rejection of exotic material was, however, short-lived. As we have seen, he loved challenges and was always looking for new and untested material to stimulate his literary creativity. Thus, in a letter to Goethe of 13 February 1798, he states that he is, after all, interested in the possibilities which the travel reports offer to the writer: 'Da ich seit diesem Winter viele Reisebeschreibungen las, so habe ich mich nicht enthalten können, zu versuchen, welchen Gebrauch der Poet von einem solchen Stoffe wohl möchte machen können' (XXIX,204). Expressing Charlotte von Lengefeld's reaction to Volney's report is very similar to that of Schiller: see her letters to Ludwig von Knebel of 25 March and 21 April 1789, Briefe von Schiller's Gattin an einen vertrauten Freund, herausgegeben von Heinrich Düntzer (Leipzig, 1856), p.41 and pp.44-45. See XX, 491: 'Denn endlich müssen wir es doch gestehen, daß weder der naive noch der sentimentalische Charakter, für sich allein betrachtet, das Ideal schöner Menschlichkeit ganz erschöpfen, das nur aus der innigen Verbindung beyder hervorgehen kann.'


Schiller and Exoticism

surprise that Goethe had not been tempted to use exotic material himself, he advances a solution to the problem posed in the letter of 26 January by arguing that the European explorer is an aesthetic being because he combines the physical qualities of the inhabitants of exotic lands with the advantages of European culture and hence represents the synthesis of natural Man and the Man of culture, the embodiment of the ideal of perfect humanity in the state of 'Elysium': Es nimmt mich aber wirklich Wunder, daß ein solcher Stoff Sie noch nicht in Versuchung geführt hat, denn hier finden Sie beinahe schon von selbst fertig, was so nöthig und doch so schwürig ist, nehmlich die persönliche und physische Wirksamkeit des natürlichen Menschen mit einem gewißen Gehalt den nur die Kunst ihm geben konnte vereinigt. Le Vaillant auf seinen afrikanischen Zügen ist wirklich ein poetischer Charakter, und ein wahrhaft mächtiger Mensch, weil er mit aller Stärke der thierischen Kräfte und allen unmittelbar aus der Natur geschöpften Hilfsmitteln die Vortheile verbindet, welche nur die Kultur gewährt. (XXIX,205)

II. Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestiick The literary product of Schiller's interest in travel reports was the plan for a maritime drama which is contained in three fragmentary sketches entitled Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers and Seestiick. There is some uncertainty as to when these fragments were written. Max Dessoir, Adalbert Silbermann and Benno von Wiese argue that all three were written in 1798,10 while Gero von Wilpert states that Das Schiff and Seestiick were composed in 1798 and Die Filibustiers in 1803. 11 Although both Carl Fries and Gustav Kettner agree that Das Schiff was written in 1798, Fries accepts the view that Die Filibustiers was composed in 1803, while Kettner argues that it originated in 1798.12 The editors of volume 12 of the Nationalausgabe analyse the conflicting views and conclude that either all three fragments were written between the end of 1803 and the middle of 1804 or that Das Schiff was written in 1798 and Die Filibustiers and Seestiick at a much later date (XII,575-77). Although it is impossible to prove conclusively


Dessoir, 'Schillers Fragment: Das Schiff, Vierteljahrschriftfiir Lineraturgeschichte, 2 (1889), 562-73 (p.563), Silbermann, 'Zu Schillers Fragmenten', Euphorion, 12 (1905), 573-78 (p.573) and von Wiese, Schiller monograph of 1959, pp.693-94. Schiller-Chronik: Sein Leben und Schaffen (Stuttgart, 1958), p.229 and p.293. Fries, 'Schillers Fragment Die FiUbustltrs', Vierteljahrschrift ftlr Litteraturgeschichte, 5 (1892), 124-35 (p.135) and Kettner, 'Schillers Entwurf zu einem Drama Das Schiff, in Marbacher Schilierbuch, vol.l, pp.126-31 (p.126) and SA, VIH, 359.

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, SeestOck


which of these alternatives is correct, Schiller's avid reading of travel reports during the composition of Wallenstein in the late 1790s and the link between the letter to Goethe of 13 February 1798 and the themes of Das Schiff suggest that Das Schijf may well have originated at this time, while his increasing interest in travel reports towards the end of his life could then have accompanied his writing of the other two fragments. Virtually the only critical debate on the maritime fragments is contained in articles by Dessoir, Silbermann and Kettner written at the turn of the century. All three critics are deeply influenced by the late nineteenthcentury positivistic approach, especially the obsession with sources which so bedevilled contemporary writing on Schiller. Completely disregarding the general terms in which many of the statements in the fragments are couched, Dessoir, Silbermann and Kettner all believe that it is possible to determine the sources which Schiller consulted. Some impression of the trivial level to which their arguments degenerate can be gauged from the discussion between Dessoir and Silbermann concerning Schiller's comment in Das Schiff that a possible setting for the action, the Isle Bourbon, was seldom visited. Dessoir points out that Schiller's statement is erroneous, for in reality the Isle Bourbon had two harbours. He speculates that this mistake may have arisen from Schiller's reading of Fra Paolino da San Bartolomeo's Reise nach Ostindien, in which it is stated that the island had no harbour. 13 Silbermann, by contrast, asserts that it was Bernardin de St. Pierre's description of the Isle Bourbon in his Voyage à l'Isle de France, à I'Isle de Bourbon et au Cap de Bonne-Espérance and not Bartolomeo's report which prompted Schiller to make this error. 14 Adopting the same method, Kettner maintains that the mention of a 'Corsar Jones' in Die Filibustiers proves that Schiller was thinking of volume 4 of Oexmelin's Histoire des avanturiers Filibustiers in which Charles Johnson tells the story of an English pirate named Jones.15 However, Kettner's claim must be regarded as speculative, for there is no concrete evidence that this, rather than any other work, was Schiller's source: indeed, he might not have worked from any source. The editors of volume 12 of the National ausgabe rightly dismiss such speculative source-based criticism as of dubious value. 16

11 14

Dessoir, p.568. Silbermann, p.573.


SA, Vm, 298.


See Xn, 568, 573 (note 16), 574 (note 26) and 584-85 (note for 313, 1-3).


Schiller and Exoticism

Another dominant characteristic of criticism of the maritime fragments is the tendency to see them as being indebted to the conventional treatment of exotic material in eighteenth-century trivial literature. Kettner argues that Schiller was influenced by pseudo-exotic plays such as Schroder's Inkle und Jariko and Kotzebue's Graf Benjowsld and La Peyrouse.17 More specifically, Silbermann maintains that the plot, milieu, themes and characters of the fragments correspond very closely to those in La Peyrouse.18 He also cites a series of spurious and tenuous 'parallels' between the fragments and Johann Friedrich Gerber's Der Ritter von Tourville, a conventional and trivial tale of adventure, seafaring, shipwreck, life on an exotic island, love and trickery.19 Indeed, the view that Schiller's sketches for an exotic drama merely constitute a slavish imitation of the popular trivial drama of the period seems to have become widespread, as the following comment by Cysarz shows: 'Schon der Dichter des Fiesco trägt unter anderem einen ganzen Kotzebue in sich; und dieser droht immer wieder sich selbständig zu machen, im "Menschenfeind" wie in mehreren nachgelassenen Trümmern. Fast sämtliche fortgelegte Bruchstücke Schillers sind fehlgeschlagene Synthesen.'20 However, these critics fail to take account of Schiller's antipathy to trivial literature. It is true that he published Gerber's Der Ritter von Tourville in parts 2 and 3 of Die Horen in 1796, but he only published it because there was a great shortage of contributions to the journal. He reveals his contempt for the work in his comment in a letter to Goethe of 5 February 1796: 'Jetzt lebe ich noch von dem abscheulichen Tourville' (XXVIII, 184). And as soon as he had enough contributions he discontinued Gerber's story after publishing only two instalments. Similarly, he found it difficult to conceal his contempt for Kotzebue and his superficial plays directed unashamedly at popular taste. In the satirical poem Shakespears Schatten of 1796, he parodies contemporary popular, trivial dramatists, the composers of 'bürgerliche Rührstücke', 21 and Caro17

18 19 20

Kettner, 'Schillers Entwurf, p.127, 'Schillers Fragment Das Schiff", Neue Jahrbücher fitr das klassische Altertum Geschichte und deutsche Literatur, 11 (1903), 55-64 (p.59) and SA, VIII, xxxvi. Silbermann, pp.574-76. Ibid., pp.576-78. Cysarz, p.137. See also Schiller's comment in Uber das Pathetische of 1793: 'Viele unsrer Romane und Trauerspiele, besonders der sogenannten Dramen (Mitteldinge zwischen Lustspiel und Trauerspiel) und der beliebten Familiengemählde gehören in diese Klasse [ = ins Gebiet des Angenehmen], Sie bewirken blofi Ausleerungen des Thränensacks und eine

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestack


line von Wolzogen reports that he referred to Kotzebue as 'ein Windball, auf dem nie ein Eindruck zurückbleibt' (XLII,324). Against the background of this evidence, I shall endeavour to show that the widely held view that Schiller treats exotic material in a trivial and conventional manner is erroneous. In the fragments, Schiller frequently stresses the importance of local colour and of the exotic setting: 'Das Lokal des Landes, wo das Stück spielt' (XII,305), 'Die Scene ist in einem andern Welttheil. Es ist eine Insel oder eine Küste, wo Schiffe anlanden' (XII,317), 'Die neue Natur, Bäume, Lufitton, Gebäude, Thiere, Kleidertrachten' (XII,318) and 'Scenen für die Augen, voll Handlung und Bewegung, auch neuer Gegenstände. l)Regsames Gewühl eines Seehafens. 3)Die neue Landschaft [und Sitten]' (XII,319). He suggests several possibilities for the location of such settings, including the East Indies, Madras in Bengal, Surinam, Timor and the Isle Bourbon, and sketches the characteristic features of this exotic landscape: 'Die Korallen. Die Seevögel [das Seegras]' (XII,308). As Karl Berger notes, Schiller intended the setting to be appropriately exotic and to contain striking visual scenes: 'Farbenreiche Bilder der tropischen Landschaft und Natur, der unendlichen See und des regsamen Gewühls im Hafenort sollen als stimmungsvoller Hintergrund der Szene dienen, eine zu der fremdartigen Umgebung passende Handlung soll innerlich damit verknüpft werden.' 22 The maritime fragments are thus significant in that they provide evidence of Schiller's great interest in landscape and his openness towards impressions from the external world. 23 The plot which is set in this exotic scene is concerned exclusively with a small number of European characters and, in the main, focuses on the movement between the New World and Europe facilitated by voyages of discovery. In Das Schiff, the protagonists can be divided into two groups: those who wish to leave the exotic island and return to Europe, and those who wish to seek refuge on the island for a variety of reasons, including the political situation in Europe, an unhappy love affair, a criminal deed,


wollüstige Erleichterung der Gefäße; aber der Geist geht leer aus, und die edlere Kraft im Menschen wird ganz und gar nicht dadurch gestärkt' (XX, 199). Schiller, 11,722. See Storz's comments on the fragments in Der Dichter Friedrich Schiller, where he argues that they evince an 'unersättliches Interesse, ja eine ganz unmittelbare Freude an Stoff und Wirklichkeit' and prove Schiller's 'Aufgeschlossensein für die bare Lebenswirklichkeit' (p.433 and p.464). See also Storz's article 'Stilelemente in Schillers dramatischem Nachlaß', Ub, NF, 3 (1962), 53-65 (pp.58-59).


Schiller and Exoticism

ill-treatment at the hands of relatives and destitution. The characters belonging to the former group include the protagonist Jenny, who longs to be reunited with his beloved in Europe, and the plantation owner's daughter, who wants to flee with her beloved to Europe because her father opposes the marriage. Those belonging to the latter group include a European who has suffered much hardship and no longer regards Europe as his homeland, and the rich merchant, the father of Jenny's beloved and the brother of the plantation owner, who has lost all his money and thus wants to begin life afresh in the New World. In Die Filibustiers, the habits and behaviour of pirates form the main focus of interest, while the plot of Seestück is similar to that of Das Schiff in that it revolves around the movement of Europeans between the Old and the New Worlds: 'Europäer, die in ihr Vaterland heimstreben. Andre Europäer die es verließen, und das Glück unter einem andern Himmel aufsuchen. Ankommende und Abgehende, auch beständig bleibende, die hier zu Hause sind' (XII,317). In Kotzebue's plays, Europe and the New World are always presented as being irreconcilably opposed to each other. The European characters who seek refuge on exotic islands willingly forget their origins in their desire to become 'noble savages' again, and constantly stress the disadvantages of the Old World and the advantages of the New. Similarly, when inhabitants of the New World are presented in a European setting as in Der Papagoy and Die Indianer in England, they constantly refer to the irreconcilable differences between their former existence in the New World and their present life in Europe. Schiller, on the other hand, is at pains to distance himself from this conventional treatment of exotic material, for he states that the aim of Das Schiff is to represent both the Old and the New Worlds, Culture and Nature, in a harmonious synthesis: Die Aufgabe ist ein Drama, worinn alle interessante Motive der Seereisen, der außereuropäischen Zustände und Sitten, der damit verknüpften Schicksale und Zufälle geschickt verbunden werden. Aufzufinden ist also ein Punctum saliens aus dem alle sich entwickeln, um welches sich alle natürlich anknüpfen laßen, ein Punkt also, wo sich Europa, Indien, Handel, Seefahrten, Schiff und Land, Wildheit und Kultur, Kunst und Natur, etc darstellen läßt. (XII,305)

All the motifs which Schiller introduces can be interpreted in the light of this aim. As he notes in Seestück, Europe as 'Culture' and the New World as 'Nature' represent the two opposing poles of a harmonious balance: 'Europa und die neue Welt stehen gegeneinander' (XII,317). Thus on the exotic island, Man is still in harmony with Nature, for the symbol of the

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestück


advent of Culture, the merchant, is absent: 'Schiffe sind selten auf dieser Küste, nur ruhige Pflanzer nicht Kaufleute leben hier' (XII,306). But Schiller is at pains to stress the disadvantages of both the Old and the New Worlds, for as the symbolic representations of Culture and Nature in isolation from each other, they both fall short of the ideal which resides in the synthesis of the opposing poles. As the reference to cannibalism in Die Filibusters shows, he does not depict the New World as a paradise: 'Einer von den Seeräubern fällt den Karaiben in die Hände und wird gefreßen' (XII,313). The recurrent theme of Europeans wishing to leave the exotic island and return to Europe also shows that he has no wish to present the New World as the door to eternal happiness. In particular, the longing which Jenny experiences on the exotic island is an important theme in Das Schiff: 'Der junge Europäer hat in Europa etwas geliebtes verlaßen, sein ganzes Herz ist dahingewendet, er ist nie glücklich gewesen, seine einzige Freude sind Schiffe aus Europa, aus dem Land seiner Liebe, ankommen zu sehen, und Nachrichten zu empfangen' (XII,307). On the other hand, inhabitants of Europe are also described as suffering estrangement which prompts them to emigrate to the New World. That Schiller intended to depict the degenerate excesses to which European culture was prone is clear in his reference to the 'Schreckniße der europäischen Sitten' (XII,306) and his question 'Darf die Revolution mit eingewebt werden?' (XII,306). The character who represents the ideal balance between Culture and Nature, the Old and the New Worlds, is the seafarer. Schiller suggests that he represents the equilibrium between those Europeans who only feel at home either in the Old World or in the New World, for he feels at ease both in Europe and in the New World: 'Zwischen beiden steht der Seemann, der überal und nirgends zu Hause ist, und auf dem Meere wohnt' (XII,306). And in the fragments, the seafarer's freedom and independence are in direct contrast with the isolation and alienation experienced by the other groups of characters in the Old and the New Worlds. The fact that the seafarer represents the agent by which wildness and civilisation, the naturalness of the New World and the artifice of the Old World are united explains the importance given to the image of the ship. Like the seafarer, the ship too is an agent which links the Old and the New Worlds and is at home in both realms: 'Das Schiff muß ein lebhaftes Intereße erregen, es ist das einzige Instrument des Zusammenhangs, es ist ein Symbol der europäischen Verbreitung, der ganzen Schiffarth u. Weltumseglung' (XII,307). It is for this reason that at the beginning of Das Schiff, Schiller stresses the importance of portraying all aspects of


Schiller and Exoticism

seafaring as well as the particular qualities of the circumnavigator: 'Auch die Schiffsdisciplin und Schiffsregierung, der Charakter des Seemanns, . . . müssen bestimmt und lebhaft erscheinen' (XII,305, inner column), and 'Landen und Absegeln. Sturm. Seetreffen. Meuterei auf dem Schiff. Schiffjustiz. Begegnimg zweier Schiffe. Scheiterades Schiff. Ausgesezte Mannschaft. Proviant. Waßereinnehmen. Handel. Seecarten, Compass, Längenuhr. Wilde Tiere, wilde Menschen' (XII,305, outer column). Similarly, in Seestück, the importance of events on board ship and the significance of the character of the seafarer for the play as a whole are stressed: Chor der Matrosen, ein Schifflied. Der Bootsmann und die Schiffregierung. Alle Hauptmotive, die in diesem Stoffe liegen, müssen herbei gebracht werden. Auch eine Meuterey auf dem Schiff. Brand im Wasser. Verlorener Anker. Seebegräbniß. Seegefecht + Seeraub. Tauschhandel mit Wilden. Geographische Entdeckungen. Mitreisende Gelehrte. Transportierte Verbrecher. Charakter eines großen Seemannes, der auf dem Meer alt geworden, die Welt durchsegelt und alles erlebt hat. Der Held des Stücks ein junger werdender Seeheld. (XII,317-18)

In the light of the significance ascribed to the seafarer, it could be argued that his situation is comparable to that of Man in the aesthetic state as described in the Aesthetic Letters. Like the seafarer who is depicted as being completely independent because he is at home in the realms of both Culture and Nature, Europe and the New World, Man in the aesthetic state is free of all determination by either his senses or his faculty of reason because both opposing drives in his psyche are active simultaneously: Das Gemüth geht also von der Empfindung zum Gedanken durch eine mittlere Stimmung über, in welcher Sinnlichkeit und Vernunft zugleich thätig sind, eben deswegen aber ihre bestimmende Gewalt gegenseitig aufheben, und durch eine Entgegensetzung eine Negation bewirken. Diese mittlere Stimmung, in welcher das Gemüth weder physisch noch moralisch genöthigt, und doch auf beyde Art thätig ist, verdient vorzugsweise eine freye Stimmung zu heißen, und wenn man den Zustand sinnlicher Bestimmung den physischen, den Zustand vernünftiger Bestimmung aber den logischen und moralischen nennt, so muß man diesen Zustand der realen und aktiven Bestimmbarkeit den ästhetischen heißen. (XX,375)

That the seafarer is depicted as reminiscent of an aesthetic character is hardly surprising when we recall Schiller's view of the explorer Le Vaillant in the letter to Goethe of 13 February 1798. Because only the explorer is truly at home in both the Old and the New Worlds, only he will embody the ideal synthesis of the 'naiv' and 'sentimental' character and succeed in marrying the advantages of Culture and the prerogative of

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestück


Man's reason with the simplicity and unsophistication of Man in his natural state. Schiller's endeavour to overcome the gulf between Europe and its colonies is not just confined to his portrayal of the existence of the seafarer, for juxtaposition in the sketches of the plots gives an impression of interchangeability between the Old and the New Worlds. Such juxtaposition is particularly prevalent in the summary of the plot of Das Schiff, where the arrival of Europeans on the exotic island is always balanced by the departure of others: Landen und Absegeln (XII,305), Ein Wegsegeln und Dableiben muß zugleich vorkommen (XD,306, inner column), Es könnte so gefügt werden, daß die Person, die sich wegsehnt, bleibt, und die, welche zu bleiben gedacht, wegsegelt (Xü,306, outer column), Der sich expatriierende Europaeer redet die fremde Erde an; der Jenny hat sich zuvor an das Meer gewendet (XII,306) and Das Stück kann so endigen, daß die Aufruhrer, statt der vorigen Bewohner, auf der Insel zurückbleiben (XII,309).

Schiller thus aims to embody a synthesis between Nature and Art in the balanced structure of the plot as well as in the characterisation of the circumnavigator. In Die Filibustiers, Schiller intends the pirates to act as a foil to the character of the seafarer. Far from representing the synthesis of physical Man and the Man of culture, they are characterised by their 'wilde und ungeheure Naturen' (XII,313) and are seen as the very antithesis of the 'edler und feiner Gefühle fähiger Mann' (XII,314) who has been prompted by his fate and passions to join them. Although the pirates' community is based on the precepts of justice and equality, Schiller makes clear that the pirates do not embody moral freedom, for as in the French Revolution, justice and equality are only realised under the physical constraints of necessity and the pirates are still slaves of their senses and hence commit atrocities. Unlike the circumnavigator, the pirate described in Seestück does not represent the unifying force between the Old and the New Worlds, for like Karl Moor in Die Räuber, he has broken all ties with European society and has declared war against civilisation: Eine große Leidenschaft ist Ursache an dem Schritt des Korsaren. Er hat seine Geliebte durch eine Ungerechtigkeit verloren, er ist bitter gekränkt durch die Gesetze und kündigt darum der gesellschaftlichen Einrichtung den unversöhnlichen Krieg an. Seine Natur ist durch dieses Unglück verändert, sein Herz erbittert. Wüthende Rachsucht gegen eine bestimmte Nation, gegen einen besondem Stand (die Mönche) und Neid gegen die ganze civilisierte Gesellschaft beseelt ihn. Oder er erwählt auch den Stand des Korsaren aus Notwendigkeit, weil er nicht mehr zu den Europäern zurück kann. (Xn,320)


Schiller and Exoticism

It is clear that the maritime fragments are deeply rooted in Schiller's own ideas, and the question arises as to why, in that case, they were never completed. Several explanations for their non-completion have been advanced. Kettner argues that the material which Schiller gleaned secondhand from the travel reports of others could not make good his lack of direct contact with the New World, and he accuses Schiller of dilettantism, foolhardiness and flawed artistic judgment in embarking on such a project: Schwerlich aber wird man es im Ernste bedauern, daß Schiller die Ausführung frühzeitig abbrach. Frühzeitig - ich meine: rechtzeitig! Es war ein Irrweg, den er einzuschlagen im Begriff war. Auch er, der große Dichter, war einen Augenblick in eine Selbsttäuschung verfallen, der Dilettanten häufig genug ausgesetzt sind: er hatte die anempfindende Kraft der Phantasie für die schöpferische genommen. Mit anderer Augen hatte er die Welt, die er darstellen wollte, gesehen und erfaßt, und so wäre, was er hätte geben können, bestenfalls doch immer nur ein Stück Leben aus zweiter Hand geblieben. 24

Goethe certainly had reservations for the very same reason about Schiller's eagerness to exploit the material of the travel reports: 'Ich bin mit Ihnen völlig überzeugt daß in einer Reise, besonders von der Art die Sie bezeichnen, schöne epische Motive liegen, allein ich würde nie wagen einen solchen Gegenstand zu behandeln, weil mir das unmittelbare Anschauen fehlt und mir in dieser Gattung die sinnliche Identification mit dem Gegenstande, welche durch Beschreibungen niemals gewirkt werden kann, ganz unerläßlich scheint.' 25 Goethe illustrates the importance of 'unmittelbares Anschauen' by arguing that German readers of the Odyssey can only appreciate the work fully if they read it in Naples or Sicily, where direct experience of the atmosphere and landscape of these locations makes the descriptive sections of the poem come alive. However, this reasoning fails to take account of Schiller's skill in creating landscapes out of his poetic imagination. For example, he had never been to Switzerland and gleaned all the material for the Swiss landscape setting in Wilhelm Tell secondhand, but this did not prevent him from completing the play and from being praised for the accuracy of his landscape depiction. In suggesting that it would be difficult to use exotic material in a literary work without having seen exotic lands at first hand, Goethe and Kettner are failing to take into account the inspiration which Schiller drew from reading

24 25

'Schillers Fragment', p.64. See also Kettner, SA, V m , xxxvi-ii. Letter to Schiller of 14 February 1798 (XXXVn,i,243).

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestück


descriptions of landscapes, for what was for Goethe an insuperable obstacle did not trouble Schiller at all. In his letter of 14 February 1798, Goethe also expresses his doubts about Schiller's eagerness to make use of the travel reports by arguing that the motif of a native woman falling in love with a European explorer which Schiller does not hesitate to use in the plot of Das Schiff could only ever appear as a feeble parody of Classical models, and in particular of the Nausicaa motif in the Odyssey. Überdieß hätte man mit der Odyssee zu kämpfen, welche die interessantesten Motive schon weggenommen hat. Die Rührung eines weiblichen Gemüths durch die Ankunft eines Fremden, als das schönste Motiv, ist nach der Nausikaa gar nicht mehr zu unternehmen. Wie weit steht nicht, selbst im Alterthume, Medea, Helena, Dido schon den Verhältnissen nach hinter der Tochter des Alcinous zurück. Die Narine des Vaillants, oder etwas ähnliches, würde immer nur Parodie jener herrlichen Gestalten bleiben. (XXXVH,i,243)

It is highly unlikely that the inclusion of this motif prevented Schiller from completing the fragment for the reasons Goethe had stated, for Schiller had always argued that specifically 'modern* material arising from the new feeling for Nature should be judged on its own terms and not according to Classical models. In any case, in a letter to von Humboldt of 17 December 1795, he argues that the depiction of women and love in Homer's works is greatly inferior to that in more modem works such as in Kalidasa's exotic Sanskrit drama Sacontala: Die griechische Weiblichkeit und das Verhältnis beyder Geschlechter zu einander bey diesem Volk, so wie beydes in den Poeten erscheint, ist doch immer sehr wenig aesthetisch und im Ganzen sehr geistleer. . . . Im Homer kenne ich keine schöne Weiblichkeit, denn die bloBe Naivetät in der Darstellung macht es noch nicht aus. Seine Nausikaa ist bloß ein naives Landmädchen, seine Penelope eine kluge und treue Hausfrau, seine Helena bloß eine leichtsinnige Frau . . . Was auch an meinen Bemerkungen wahr seyn mag, so werden Sie mir doch gestehen, daß es im ganzen griechischen Alterthum keine poetische Darstellung schöner Weiblichkeit oder schöner Liebe giebt, die nur von fern an die Sacontala und an einige moderne Gemähide in dieser Gattung reichte. (XXVm,134-35)26

Schiller sees Sacontala as being superior to female characters in Greek literature, for her emotions are never in danger of being in conflict with


See also Ober naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, in which Schiller also argues that the depiction of love in ancient literature is surpassed by more recent poets, as in Kalidasa's Sacontala (XX, 478).


Schiller and Exoticism

the decisions of her will and she thus embodies the ethical perfection of the 'schöne Seele'. If Schiller's attitude towards questions of genre is examined, a more convincing explanation for the non-completion of the fragments emerges. In the sketch Über epische und dramatische Dichtung of 1797, on which Goethe and Schiller collaborated, the goals of the epic poet and the dramatist are compared and contrasted. Goethe and Schiller stress that the epic poem has a quite different emphasis from the drama, for the former is concerned with Man's interaction with the external physical world, as in voyages round the world, the latter with the internal realm of the human soul: 'Das epische Gedicht stellt vorzüglich persönlich beschränkte Thätigkeit, die Tragödie persönlich beschränktes Leiden vor; das epische Gedicht den außer sich wirkenden Menschen: Schlachten, Reisen, jede Art von Unternehmung die eine gewisse sinnliche Breite fordert; die Tragödie den nach innen geführten Menschen, und die Handlungen der ächten Tragödie bedürfen daher nur weniges Raums' (XXI,57-58). Similarly, they state that while the epic poem depicts the wider physical world, the drama has a much more restricted setting: Die Welten, welche zum Anschauen gebracht werden sollen, sind beyden gemein: l)die physische, und zwar erstlich die nächste, wozu die dargestellten Personen gehören und die sie umgiebt. In dieser steht der Dramatiker meist auf Einem Puncte fest, der Epiker bewegt sich freyer in einem großem Local; zweytens die entferntere Welt, wozu ich die ganze Natur rechne. Diese bringt der epische Dichter, der sich überhaupt an die Imagination wendet, durch Gleichnisse näher, deren sich der Dramatiker sparsamer bedient. (XXI,58)

Schiller returns to the theme of the difference between epic and dramatic poetry in the letter to Goethe of 13 February 1798, where, prompted by his reading of James Cook's journeys round the world, he argues that it would be quite feasible to treat the material of the travel reports in an epic poem, for the intrinsic characteristics of this material make it ideally suited to this genre: Es ist keine Frage, daß ein Weltentdecker oder Weltumsegler wie Cook einen schönen Stoff zu einem epischen Gedichte entweder selbst abgeben oder doch herbeiführen könnte, denn alle Requisite eines epischen Gedichts, worüber wir übereingekommen finde ich darinn, und auch das wäre dabey sehr günstig, daß das Mittel dieselbe Dignität und selbstständige Bedeutung hätte, wie der Zweck selbst, ja daß der Zweck mehr des Mittels wegen da wäre. Es ließe sich ein gewisser menschlicher Kreis darinn erschöpfen, was mir bei einem Epos wesentlich däucht, und das physische würde sich mit dem moralischen zu einem schönen Ganzen verbinden lassen. (XXIX,204-05)

Das Schiff, Die Filibusters,



In contrast, he states that this material would be quite unsuitable for a drama, for the epic breadth of the travel reports would conflict with drama's goal of representing the inner workings of the human soul: Wenn ich mir aber eben diesen Stoff als zu einem Drama bestimmt denke, so erkenne ich auf einmal die große Differenz beider Dichtungsaiten. Da incommodiert mich die sinnliche Breite eben so sehr als sie mich dort anzog, das physische erscheint nun bloß als ein Mittel, um das moralische herbeizuführen, es wird lästig durch seine Bedeutung und den Anspruch den es macht, und kurz der ganze reiche Stoff dient nun bloß zu einem Veranlaßungsmittel gewißer Situationen, die den innern Menschen ins Spiel setzen. (XXIX,205)

Despite his clear distinction between epic and dramatic poetry in Über epische und dramatische Dichtung and the letter to Goethe of 13 February 1798, Schiller nevertheless attempted to refashion the motifs of the travel reports in dramatic form in the maritime fragments. However, epic motifs such as voyages of discovery, the depiction of exotic lands and customs, character types from many different cultural and historical backgrounds, events at sea including fire on board ship, battles and mutiny and the movement over great distances could not be constrained in dramatic form because of drama's different aims and emphases as Schiller saw them. 27 There is certainly much evidence of his desperate, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to make the epic breadth of his material conform to the strict form of drama. In Die Filibustiers, he endeavours to establish unity of place by making the ship the scene of the action: 'Das Theater kann das Schiff selbst seyn, es ist ein Kriegsschiff. Man ist bald auf dem Verdeck, bald im Raum, bald in der Cajute' (XII,313). He also stresses that the pirates' mode of existence requires unity of place and action, for it is 'eine abgeschlossene Existenz unter eigenen strengen Nothgesetzen' (XII, 313-14, my emphasis) and the pirates are born at sea and are buried at sea: 'Auf der See gebohren, in der See begraben' (XII,313). Similarly, in Seestilck, he stresses unity of time, place and action. He declares that the ship represents 'eine Heimat, eine eigene Welt' (XII,318), and once again suggests that the ship could be the stage setting: 'Der Korsar entert ein andres Schiff, und macht sich davon Meister. Dieses geht auf der Scene vor' (XII,319). He also attempts to introduce unity of time: 'Alles muss sich in einem Tag begeben, die Nacht mit eingeschloßen' (XII,317). When 57

See Staiger's Schiller monograph in which he rightly argues that the fragments could not be completed because the 'punctum saliens' could not be found (p.350). The 'punctum saliens' presents the essence of a concentrated drama, and Schiller could not find it because the material was unsuitable for dramatic treatment.


Schiller and Exoticism

unity of place is threatened by the epic breadth of the material and by the movement between Europe and the New World which plays such an important role in the plot, he suggests an ironical interlude in which Oceanus would excuse this violation: 'Die Scene ist in einem andern Welttheil . . . Ein (1) Act (2) Akt, der lezte kann in Europa spielen, wenn vorher in einem Zwischenact der Oceanus aufgetreten und diesen ungeheuren Sprung launigt entschuldigt hat' (XII,317). But in attempting to treat the essentially epic material of the travel reports in a drama, Schiller encountered insuperable difficulties which prevented him from completing the fragments. He intended the physical world and local colour to play an important role in his maritime drama, but this was clearly in conflict with his view of the aim of drama, which was to depict the inner world of the human psyche. 28 In the light of the distinction which he drew between epic and dramatic poetry in 1797 and 1798, it seems surprising that he should have embarked on a project which involved the mixing of these genres in the first place, and even more surprising that having failed in Das Schiff, he should try again later in Die Filibusters and Seestilck. This is, however, the best evidence of the fascination which the material had for him, for it shows that his abandonment of the project was not caused by a loss of interest in the exotic. The maritime fragments thus represent Schiller's attempt to put the exotic material of the travel reports to literary use. His approach to the exotic must be differentiated from that of the majority of his contemporaries, for although the plot with its motifs of love, anagnorisis and emotional farewells and greetings set against the background of an exotic island may at first sight appear to be strongly reminiscent of the plots of Kotzebue's 'bürgerliche Familienrührstücke1, Schiller's motivation is completely different from that of the trivial dramatists of the period. His purpose is to put forward serious ideas, and he thus turns to a theme of topical interest the discovery of exotic lands and European colonisation of them - in an attempt to embody certain central aspects of his philosophical thought. As we have seen in Chapter One, the conventional interpretation of exotic lands was to view them in terms of the myths of the Golden Age and of the Garden of Eden. Schiller, by contrast, does not believe that a return to the Benno von Wiese and Gerhard Storz rightly argue that Schiller could only have completed the fragments in another literary form: von Wiese suggests the form of the modern novel (Schiller monograph, p.694), and Storz a completely novel dramatic form which is more concerned with the portrayal of the external world than with the 'innerer Mensch' (Der Dichter Friedrich Schiller, p.470).

Das Schiff, Die Filibustiers, Seestäck


primitive state of the 'noble savage' and a complete abandonment of culture will provide any solutions for the ills of modem Man. This belief is apparent in the maritime fragments where he insists that the opposing poles of Europe and India, the Old and the New Worlds, Art and Nature, civilisation and savagery must be reconciled. This ideal explains the importance of the seafarer and the ship in the fragments, for they are seen to provide the point of contact between all the opposing factors. Some measure of Schiller's interest in exoticism can be gauged from the fact that even when the 'Nature-lover' Goethe balked at the idea of writing a play based on exotic material, he was not to be dissuaded from attempting such a project.

Chapter Six: Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96 I. The Early Years In his Life of Schiller, Thomas Carlyle recounts a tale concerning the young Schiller's love of thunderstorms: Once, it is said, during a tremendous thunderstorm, his father missed him in the young group within doors; none of the sisters could tell what was become of Fritz, and the old man grew at length so anxious that he was forced to go out in quest of him. Fritz was scarcely past the age of infancy, and knew not the dangers of a scene so awful. His father found him at last, in a solitary place of the neighbourhood, perched on the branch of a tree, gazing at the tempestuous face of the sky, and watching the flashes as in succession they spread their lurid gleam over it. To the reprimands of his parent, the whimpering truant pleaded in extenuation, "that the lightning was very beautiful, and that he wished to see where it was coming from!" (p.5)

Although this incident is quite probably apocryphal, as Carlyle freely admits, Schiller's penchant for wandering through the countryside during thunderstorms is well documented.1 Carlyle suggests that he felt a great affinity with Nature in turmoil because it reflected the sublime cast of his own soul: He delighted most to be there [=on the banks of the Elbe] when tempests were abroad; his unquiet spirit found a solace in the expression of his own unrest on the face of Nature; danger lent a charm to his situation; he felt in harmony with the scene, when the rack was sweeping stormfully across the heavens, and the forests were sounding in the breeze, and the river was rolling its chafed waters into wild eddying heaps, (p.77)

As well as seeking as much contact as possible with the natural sublime, the young Schiller was struck by passages on the sublime in what

See Reinhard Buchwald, Schiller: Leben und Werk, vierte, neu bearbeitete Auflage (Wiesbaden, 1959), pp.752-53, Alfred Newsom Niblett, Schiller; Dramatist, Historian, and Poet: A Centenary Lecture upon the Life and Genius of Friedrich von Schiller (London and Edinburgh, I860), pp.45-46 and Friedrich Dieckmann, "An die Freunde": Hilfsmittel wider die alternde Zeit', NDL, 28 (1980), Nr 4, 4/80, 122-49 (p. 136).

The Early Years


he read, and such passages inspired his own early writings. In one of his earliest poems, the Hymne an den Unendlichen, Schiller depicts a violent storm viewed from the sublime standpoint of a mountain peak: Zwischen Himmel und Erd, hoch in der Lüfte Meer, In der Wiege des Sturms trägt mich ein Zakenfels, Wolken thürmen Unter mir sich zu Stürmen, Schwindelnd gaukelt der Blik umher Und ich denke dich, Ewiger. (1,101)

As Rigas N. Bertos notes, the topography of the landscape in this stanza is very similar to that of Caspar David Friedrich's painting Wanderer over a Sea of Fog of 1818, in which a lone figure on a mountain peak has an unlimited view over a sea of clouds.2 However, it is probable that it was not so much Schiller's own experience of storms as his reading of Klopstock's poetry which prompted him to write this poem, for the idea of an all-powerful God making his presence known to mortal Man through sublime natural phenomena is quintessential^ Klopstockian.3 The young Schiller's fascination with storms is also apparent in his translation of lines 34 to 156 of the first book of Virgil's Aeneid, for Schiller's Der Sturm auf dem Tyrrhener Meer is a greatly expanded version of Virgil's storm description.4 The sublime also figured largely in Schiller's early works which were independent of an immediate source. In the 1781 'Schauspiel' version of Die Räuber, the forest setting for the robbers' activities is appropriately sublime, as the robbers' song in IV.5 indicates: Der Wald ist unser Nachtquartier, Bey Sturm und Wind handthieren wir, Der Mond ist unsre Sonne. ( m , 1 0 3 )

'Caspar David Friedrich and Friedrich Schiller', in Nineteenth-Century Germany: A Symposium, edited by Modris Eksteins and Hildegard Hammerschmidt (Tübingen, 1983), pp. 15-27 (pp.22-23). Jean Murat describes Schiller's poem as 'le pendant de l'ode célèbre Die Frühlingsfeler': 'L'influence de Klopstock et les premières poésies de Schiller', in Bicentenaire de la naissance de Schiller, Études Germaniques, 4, 14ème année (Oct-Déc, 1959), pp. 386-402 (p.394). See also Friedrich Burschell, Schiller (Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1968), p.62 and von Wiese's Schiller monograph, p. 132. This is noted by Werner Keller in Das Pathos in Schillers Jugendlyrik, Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Kulturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, Neue Folge, 15 (Berlin, 1964), pp.37-38.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

Von Wiese is correct when, in his Schiller monograph, he describes the woods as an archetypal sublime landscape: 'Nicht eine arkadisch-idyllische Natur sind diese Wälder, sondern eine grenzenlose, unkultivierte Landschaft jenseits des drängenden Gewühles der Welt' (p.151). The woods are significant in that their isolation reflects the isolation of the robbers, for the latter have cut themselves off from society and its laws and have formed a new community which exists outside the normal social order. The wildness of the woods also reflects the activities of the robbers, which include stealing, murder and the destruction of whole towns. The role of the wild forest setting in Die Räuber thus differs from that in trivial literature of the period, where the forest haunts of bandits are exploited purely to arouse terror, as in Christian August Vulpius' Rinaldo Rinaldini, der Räuberhauptmann of 1797, which is set in the terrific Italian Apennines with their storm winds, thousand-year-old oak trees, gloomy forests and Gothic castles. The scene IV.5, where Karl and his robbers discover Old Moor immured in a ruined tower in the depths of the woods, represents an intensification of the sublimity of the forest setting. The landscape setting in this scene could thus best be described as 'Gothick', for it has a more spine-chilling and terrifying impact than the purely sublime. Herrmann, Franz's accomplice, who has clandestinely brought food for Old Moor, evokes the terrifying aspects of the landscape: it is pitch black, and the only sounds are the eerie cry of the screech-owl and the howling of the wind through the cracks in the tower's masonry: 'Horch! Horch! grausig heult der Kauz - zwölf schlägts drüben im Dorf - in dieser Wilde kein Lauscher. . . . [Ich höre] Den Orkan heulen in den Rizen des Thurms Eine Nachtmusik davon einem die Zahn klappern, und die Nägel blau werden' (111,110-11). It was primarily due to this scene that Schiller became firmly associated with the natural sublime in the English mind. Coleridge read the play in translation between midnight and one o' clock on a stormy winter's night,5 and in his sonnet of 1794, To the Author of the "Robbershe speaks of the terrific impression which IV.5 had made on him: SCHILLER! that hour I would have wished to die, If through the shuddering midnight I had sent From the dark dungeon of the tower time-rent See letter to Robert Southey, November, 1794, Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, edited by Ernest Hartley Coleridge, 2 vols (London, William Heinemann, 1895), I, 96-97.

The Early Years


That fearful voice, a famished Father's cry Lest in some after moment aught more mean Might stamp me mortal! A triumphant shout Black HORROR screamed, and all her goblin rout Diminished shrunk from the more withering scene! Ah Bard tremendous in sublimity! Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood Wandering at eve with finely frenzied eye Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood! Awhile with mute awe gazing I would brood: Then weep aloud in a wild ecstasy!®

In the preface to his translation of Die Räuber of 1799, the Rev. W. Render compares the experience of reading the play to the experience of the sublime in Nature: 'We admire, but not without surprize and horror. We stand upon the precipice with a mixture of astonishment and delight, we shudder while we gaze around us.' 7 For Carlyle, the play is characterised by sublime massiveness: 'It stands, in our imagination, like some ancient rugged pile of a barbarous age; irregular, fantastic, useless; but grand in its height and massiveness and black frowning strength.' 8 However, because this view of the play is an English one, some caution must be urged, for in their taste for the terrific, English readers of the play frequently failed to grasp the true significance of the landscape setting. Schiller does not introduce horror-inducing details for their own sake, for just as the wildness of the forest setting reflects the outrageous activities of the robbers, so the landscape setting in IV.5 reflects the destruction and profanation of the family and its ties and the fact that Franz's deed of attempted patricide is worse than the robbers' deeds, as they themselves point out: 'Es ist ein Belials Streich! Sag einer, wir seyen Schelmen! Nein bey allen Drachen! So bunt haben wirs nie gemacht!' (111,115). The evil character of Franz's actions is evident in Karl's references to 'ewiges Chaos' (111,112) and to a world turned upside down: 'Schaut her, schaut her! die Geseze der Welt sind Würfelspiel worden, das Band der Natur ist entzwey, die alte Zwietracht ist los, der Sohn hat seinen Vater erschlagen' (III, 114).



The Poetical Work$ of S. T. Coleridge, including the dramas of Wallenstein, Remorse and Zapolya, 3 vols (William Pickering, London, 1828), I, 65. The Robbers: A Tragedy, by Frederick Schiller, Translated from the German by the Rev. W. Render (London, 1799), p.viii. Life of Schiller, p.19.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

Schiller's more restrained, and therefore more effective use of the 'Gothick' landscape setting in IV.5 becomes clear when his depiction of this scene is compared with that in later trivial German adaptations of the play by the 'Schauerromantik' school. In Frau Wangenheim's rambling and incoherent prose version, all aspects of Schiller's 'Gothick' landscape have been subjected to terrific exaggeration in order to increase the sensational effect and evoke gratuitous horror: 'Zwischen verkrüppelten Eichen und schlanken Föhren, welche die Arme, wie Geister in die Nacht hinausstreckten, drang der blasse Strahl des Mondes hindurch und beleuchtete menschliche Gesichter, deren verwildertes Aussehen zu dieser Gegend paßte. . . . Schaurig, still-verschwiegen reckte weit hinten der Thurm in die Nacht hinaus; sein trauriges Aussehen scheuchte sogar die wildkühnen Männer von Moor's Bande zurück.' 9 In addition, in Wangenheim's version, the background noise of the screech-owl's cry is exaggerated to become a deafening chorus, 10 and the word 'schaurig' is applied indiscriminately to inanimate objects, landscapes and characters' reactions. Schiller also depicts a 'Gothick' landscape setting in the first version of Die Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua of 1783, for in III. 1 Verrina leads Bourgognino to a 'furchtbare Wildniß' in the middle of the night to tell him of his intention to kill his friend and ally Fiesco because of his overweening ambition. As Bourgognino anticipates at the beginning of the scene, this horrible confession is in complete harmony with the landscape in which it is recounted: 'Der schröklichste [Ort], den du [ = Verrina] auffinden konntest. Vater, wenn das, was du hier vornehmen wirst, dem Orte gleich sieht, Vater, so werden meine Haarspizen aufwärts springen' (IV,65). As in IV.5 of Die Räuber, Schiller uses a 'Gothick' landscape setting to reflect an unnatural deed. However, when he revised the play in 1784 for the Mannheim theatre, a room in Fiesco's house was substituted for the locus horridus of III. 1. By excising this unusual setting, he presented the play in a form which was more suitable for theatrical production, for when too many changes of scene occurred in a short period, lengthy passages of dialogue could be rendered inaudible by the noise of the 'Maschinisten' producing the necessary transformations.11 He



Die Räuber, Roman, Nach Friedrich von Schillers Trauerspiel "Die Räuber", 3 parts (Hamburg, 1837), HI, 136-37. Ibid., m , 151. See also English products of the 'terrific' school in which the motifs of Schiller's IV.5 have been sensationalised and trivialised: M. G. Lewis, Jhe Castle Spectre, A Drama (London, 1798), V.3 and the Rev. T. S. Whalley, The Castle of Montval, A Tragedy (London, 1799), IV.4 and V.4. See F. M. Fowler, 'Schiller's Fiesko Re-Examined', PEGS, NS, 4 0 (1970), 1-29 (p.9).

The Early Years


thus made the substitution for technical reasons and not because he rejected the 'Gothick' landscape setting as a means to reflect a horrible deed. As well as depicting woods in his early drama, Schiller also depicts a forest setting in the prose work Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre of 1785. The qualities which mark this forest setting as sublime are its huge size, its labyrinthine character, its robber inhabitants and its loneliness and isolation, all of which induce a sense of fear. When Wolf murders his rival Robert while on a hunting expedition, the forest is depicted as a silent spectator: ' "Mörder" . . . stammelte ich langsam - der Wald war still wie ein Kirchhof - ich hörte deutlich, daß ich "Mörder" sagte' (XVI, 16). As Wolf flees deeper into the wood, his guilty conscience peoples it with fearful apparitions: 'Jetzt floh ich waldeinwärts. . . . Tausend gräßliche Gestalten gingen an mir vorüber und schlugen wie schneidende Messer in meine Brust' (XVI, 17). While following a path leading into the darkest thicket of the forest, Wolf is confronted by the robber chief, whose terrific appearance arouses fear and repulsion. As the robber chief leads Wolf to his lair, the forest becomes progressively more terrifying: 'Der Wald wurde immer abschüssiger, unwegsamer und wilder, . . . Ich schlug die Augen auf, wir standen am schroffen Absturz eines Felsen, der sich in eine tiefe Kluft hinunterbückte' (XVI,20). As usual, Schiller does not have the aim of evoking terror for its own sake,12 for as in Die Räuber, Wolfs penetration deeper into the woods reflects his progressive alienation and exclusion from society. This is particularly clear where he hesitates before descending into the robbers' lair at the foot of the ravine, for he realises that joining the robber band involves excluding himself irrevocably from society and from the possibility of redemption: 'Ich sah in den Schlund hinab, der mich jetzt aufnehmen sollte; es erinnerte mich dunkel an den Abgrund der Hölle, woraus keine Erlösung mehr ist. Mir fing an, vor der Laufbahn zu schaudern, die ich nunmehr betreten wollte; nur eine schnelle Flucht konnte mich retten' (XVI,21). In addition, the increasingly wild and gloomy landscape through which he passes reflects the wild career of robbery on which he is about to embark and which culminates in his becoming 'der Schrecken des Landvolks' (XVI,23). This avoidance of crude sensationalism in the depiction of the landscape setting is consistent with Schiller's aim of analysing Wolfs character and emotions in the manner of a scientist and of ensuring the 'republik12

See A. Menhennet, 'Schiller and the "Germanico-Terrific" Romance', PEGS, NS, 51 (1981), 27-47, where Menhennet stresses the absence of sensationalism and the serious aims of Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

anische Freiheit des lesenden Publikums' (XVI,8), so that the reading public is in a position to pass judgment on Wolfs actions and on the manner in which he is treated by society.13 Schiller's restraint in the depiction of the landscape setting becomes clear when it is contrasted with an English 'translation' of the story by Peter Teuthold. Teuthold endows the forest setting with a demonic character in order to satisfy the English love for the terrific, and he even goes so far as to change the ending in such a way that the story can be concluded on a 'Gothick' note. In contrast with Schiller's story, in which Wolf gives himself up voluntarily to the authorities and is willing to be punished for his misdeeds, in Teuthold's version he evades capture and flees into the Black Forest, where he is caught up in a terrific storm: 'I had stood the fury of the elements two horrid, dreadful hours; no sound was heard but the screech of the owl, the croaking of the raven, the roaring of thunder, and the howling of furious winds: midnight was past, and the hurricane still raged with unabated fury.' 14 The sublime and 'Gothick' landscape settings which appear in several of Schiller's early works thus perform an important function in the framework of the ideas of the works and are not merely introduced for sensational and terrific effect as was the case in trivial literature of the period. However, the locus horridus never appears in Schiller's works after 1785. The mature Schiller would have regarded its use as an illegitimate concession to popular taste, however much this setting might have been linked with the overall concerns of the work.



For a detailed examination of this aspect of the story see Gerhard Köpf, 'Erzählstrategie und "republikanische Freiheit des lesenden Publikums": Eine Untersuchung zu Schillers Erzählung Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre', LitL, 1 (1978), 93-113, John A. McCarthy, 'Die republikanische Freiheit des Lesers. Zum Lesepublikum von Schillers Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre', WW, 29 (1979), 28-43 and Gert Sautermeister, 'Unveijährte Aufklärung: Schillers Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre', Die Hören, 3 0 (1985), Nr 140, 273-79 (pp.278-79). The Necromancer: or the Tale of the Black Forest. Founded on Facts, translated from the German of Lawrence Flammenberg by Peter Teuthold, edited by Montague Summers (London, 1927), p.222. Teuthold's version of Schiller's story is appended to the end of his translation of Flammenberg's work.

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Über das Erhabene


II. Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen über verschiedene ästhetische Gegenstände, Über das Erhabene We have seen that from a very early age, Schiller was attracted by sublime landscapes which had not been 'improved' by human intervention. In the early 1780s he depicted such landscapes in his dramas and prose work Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre, but between 1793 and 1796 he was to become concerned with the sublime as a topic for philosophical discussion. The product of this shift in interest were the essays Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen über verschiedene ästhetische Gegenstände and Über das Erhabene. Vom Erhabenen dates from 1793, the period of his intensive study of Kantian thought, and Zerstreute Betrachtungen from around the same time. The dating of Über das Erhabene is more uncertain. Several critics believe that it was written in 1801, shortly before it was published in the third part of the collection Kleinere prosaische Schriften,15 while others argue that it was written sometime between 1794 and 1796, many years before it was published.16 The case presented by the latter group of critics is much more convincing, for the ideas of the essay are very similar to those in Vom Erhabenen and Zerstreute Betrachtungen, with all three essays representing one stage in his thought on the sublime. His theory of the sublime demonstrates his positive attitude towards the natural sublime in that it represents his eagerness to legitimise one aspect of the modem feeling for Nature, the love of ascending mountains, gazing down into precipices and witnessing storms at sea. Criticism of these essays is dominated by the traditional view that Schiller is hostile towards Nature and that he sought the least possible contact with the external world. Claude David maintains that for Schiller, Nature is merely 'force incohérente et appétit brutal', 17 and that Über das Erhabene demonstrates his uncompromising negation of Nature and his desire to distance himself from its chaos in order to preserve his independence and dignity: La distance entre l'homme et le monde qui l'entoure, que les Lettres esthétiques avaient tenté de réduire, se retrouve aussi grande qu'à l'origine; le fossé s'est à nouveau creusé. . . . Devant ce chaos d'un monde livré au hasard, le sage renoncera à poursuivre l'ordre et le bien-être. Il cherchera bien plutôt à fuir les faux attraits de ce

15 16 17

See Claude David, 'La Notion de "Nature'", pp.22-23 and Otto Hamaclc, pp.542-43. See von Wiese, Schiller monograph, p.679 and XXI, 328 and 333. 'La Notion de "Nature"', p.21.


Schiller and the Sublime 1739-96 monde sensible. . . . Le Schiller du Traité sur le Sublime ne voit plus de salut que dans 18 l'évasion.

For David, Schiller's Weltanschauung in Über das Erhabene is baroque rather than neo-Classical, because he finds in Schiller a vision of Man thrown against his will into the disorder, absurd chaos and violence of a brutal and hostile Nature: 'La "nature" est explosion brutale de forces imprévisibles, le théâtre du hasard et de l'arbitraire . . . Chez Schiller, l'homme, avec les faibles armes de son intelligence, les oeuvres misérables de sa civilisation, se trouve en quelque sorte rejeté hors du monde: il n'est plus que le spectateur d'une grandiose anarchie.' 19 David also adheres to the traditional interpretation of Goethe as Nature-lover and Schiller as inward-looking philosopher, contrasting Schiller's view of a natural realm from which Man is excluded with Goethe's belief in the harmonious coexistence between an ordered and comprehensible Nature and Man. 20 For Ellis Finger too, Über das Erhabene provides proof of Schiller's hostility towards Nature: Specifically, Schiller takes a view of nature in his essay which deviates sharply from the underlying premise of Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung-, . . . Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung depends on a beneficent, trusting view of nature. . . . When we turn to Über das Erhabene we find Schiller in a very different posture; here he regards nature with suspicion and distrust, and stresses the adversary relationship between its destructive powers and the individual's struggle to maintain moral autonomy. . . . Nature's influence over man is not at all perceived as a beneficent guide. Quite the opposite, nature poses a danger to man's well-being which must be counteracted either by transforming it to his own use or by seeking refuge from its destructive powers . . . Schiller maintains this "escapist* attitude throughout the essay, . . . arguing the urgent need to turn inward upon the resources of mind and will, seeking through this sublime disposition "einen Ausgang aus der sinnlichen Welt".

Werner Schubert also believes that Schiller's antagonism towards the external world and the gulf between his view of Nature and that of Goethe are particularly marked in Über das Erhabene. For Schubert, it was only in Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung that Schiller gave any indication of appreciating Nature and hence of adopting Goethe's view of 18

20 21

'La Notion de "Natura"', p.23 and p.24. 'Le personnage de la reine Elisabeth dans la Marie Stuart de Schiller', Deutsche Beiträge zur geistigen Überlieferung, 4 (1961), 9-22 (p.21). Ibid., p.21. 'Schiller's Concept of the Sublime and its Pertinence to Don Carlos and Maria Stuart', JEGP, 79 (1980), 166-78 (p.167, p.168 and p.169).

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachlungen, Ober das Erhabene


Nature: in his other works, Nature was merely to be shunned as a realm of disorder, chaos and arbitrariness.22 There is also a tendency on the part of the critics to dismiss Schiller's essays on the sublime as a mere restatement of Kantian ideas in the Kritik der Urteilskraft. Karl Vorländer claims that the only way Schiller's thought on the sublime can be distinguished from Kant's is that the ideas in Über das Erhabene are couched in a more poetic language.23 Similarly, Friedrich Uberweg dismisses the essays as mere exercises in Kantian thought: 'Im Vergleich mit den meisten andern ästhetischen Abhandlungen Schiller's haben die Aufsätze vom Erhabenen und Pathetischen weniger Eigentümliches, und sind in einigen Partien (namentlich in denjenigen, die später getilgt wurden), fast nur als Kantianische Studien zu betrachten, die Schiller vor dem Publicum machte.' 24 Uberweg insists that Schiller slavishly follows Kantian subjectivism and ascribes sublime qualities exclusively to a process occurring in the inner realm of the human psyche, thus ignoring sensible forms and disregarding the role of Nature in the sublime process. He chides Schiller for forgetting the lessons of the Kallias letters and calling the subjective reaction to a landscape 'sublime' rather than the landscape itself: Die Hineinlegung des Subjectiven in das Objective ist sehr verschieden von dem unmittelbaren Selbstgenuß der eigehen subjectiven Ueberlegenheit. Schiller, der in seinen Untersuchungen Ober das Wesen des Schönen (in den Briefen an Körner und zum Theil auch in "Anmuth und Würde") diesen Unterschied wohl zu würdigen wußte, hätte wohl zur richtigen Einsicht durchzudringen vermocht; aber die Kant'sche Autorität hat ihn hier gefesselt gehalten.

In contrast, I shall endeavour to show that Schiller's theory of the sublime, far from representing a complete and unequivocal retreat from the natural world, in fact advocates the maximum possible contact with sublime natural phenomena in order to combat the ills afflicting modern Man. For this reason, he is very interested in the special qualities of natural objects which prompt an aesthetic reaction in Man, and does not merely follow the Kantian subjective approach as many critics suggest. In direct 22

23 24

'Schiller und seine Begegnung mit Goethe', DaF, 17 (Sonderheft, 1980), 3-20 (p.lO and p.14). Kam. Schiller. Goethe. Gesammelte Aufsätze (Leipzig, 1907), p.89. Schiller als Historiker und Philosoph (Leipzig, 1884), p.220. Überweg, p.221. For the same view see also Karl Berger, Die Entwicklung von Schillers Ästhetik (Weimar, 1894), pp. 195-96 and p.199 and Karl Gneisse, Schillers Lehre von der ästhetischen Wahrnehmung (Berlin, 1893), p.105 and p.122.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

contrast with David's contention that the natural sublime placed Schiller on the defensive and left him with a deeply pessimistic view of Man's place in the world, I shall argue that he was in fact excited by the challenge which sublime landscape posed. The traditionalists preferred beautiful landscapes to sublime landscapes because they showed the qualities of restraint and proportion favoured by the neo-Classicists. They shunned the vast and frightening elements in Nature, dismissing them as ugly and repulsive objects which aroused only distaste. Winckelmann's companion during his voyage from Italy to Germany reports that he found the sight of the Alps distasteful: 'Da wir weiter in die Gebirge kamen, bemerkte ich unvermuthet, daß Winckelmann sein Gesicht veränderte. Er sagte mir darauf in einem pathetischen Tone: "Sehen Sie, mein Freund, welche schreckliche schaudervolle Gegenden! Welche unermeßlich emporsteigende G e b i r g e ! " . . . Und alles dieses sagte er mit einer solchen Heftigkeit, welche seinen unglaublichen Eckel und Abscheu an diesen Dingen recht lebhaft ausdrückte. ' 2 6 Schiller, however, is determined not to endorse the traditionalists' stance, for to do so would be tantamount to admitting that the Moderns were suffering from collective delusion in their preference for sublime landscapes over beautiful landscapes. For Schiller, the traditionalists' position is untenable, for the Moderns do not live in the same beautiful environment as the Ancients and the times have changed radically. Thus, in the poem Die Antike an einen Wanderer aus Norden of 1795, he expresses the view that the qualities of beauty held in such great esteem by the Ancients are not necessarily appropriate for the Moderns. Even though an inhabitant of Northern Europe may turn his back on the sublime landscape of his homeland with its 'nebligter Pol', 'eiserner Himmel' and 'arkturische Nacht' (1,257) and make a pilgrimage to the sunny and beautiful realm of Southern Europe, he will not come any closer to antiquity, for he is separated from it irrevocably by the 'Alpenwand des Jahrhunderts' (1,257), which forms an insurmountable barrier between them. And in his letter to Johann Wilhelm Süvern of 26 July 1800, Schiller states that the Moderns should not try to imitate Greek tragedy, because the qualities of beauty so admired by the Ancients are not appropriate for the Moderns, who live in a different age and in a different social and political climate. In contrast with the melting beauty favoured 57

Quoted from Winckelmanns Briefe, herausgegeben von Friedrich Förster, 3 vols (Berlin, 1824-25), m , 336.

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Über das Erhabene


by the Ancients, the Moderas need to be energised and shaken out of their lethargic passivity, a rôle which only the energising beauty of the sublime can fulfil: 'Unsre Tragödie wenn wir eine solche hätten, hat mit der Ohnmacht, der Schlaffheit, der Charakterlosigkeit des Zeitgeistes und mit einer gemeinen Denkart zu ringen, sie muß also Kraft und Charakter zeigen, sie muß das Gemüth zu erschüttern, zu erheben, aber nicht aufzulösen suchen. Die Schönheit ist für ein glückliches Geschlecht, aber ein unglückliches muß man erhaben zu rühren suchen' (XXX, 177, my emphasis). Schiller is equally critical of the response to the sublime of the scientists of the Enlightenment, who insisted that everything in the natural realm conformed to a rational world picture and could be comprehended by means of the human intellect. In the poem Menschliches Wissen of 1795, he speaks with contempt of the scientists and astronomers who reduce the great aspects of Nature to groups of figures and diagrams.27 In a letter to Körner of 6 August 1797, he uses the epithet 'Verstandesmensch' (XXIX, 113) to criticise Alexander von Humboldt for his rational and scientific approach to Nature, which attempts to reduce its unfathomable character to mere empty and meaningless formulae: Es ist der nakte, schneidende Verstand der die Natur, die immer unfaßlich und in allen ihren Punkten ehrwürdig und unergründlich ist, schaamlos ausgemessen haben will und mit einer Frechheit die ich nicht begreife, seine Formeln, die oft nur leere Worte, und immer nur enge Begriffe sind, zu ihrem Maaßstabe macht. Kurz mir scheint er für seinen Gegenstand ein viel zu grobes Organ und dabey ein viel zu beschränkter Verstandesmensch zu seyn. Er hat keine Einbildungskraft und so fehlt ihm nach meinem Urtheil das nothwendigste Vermögen zu seiner Wißenschaft - denn die Natur muß angeschaut und empfunden werden, in ihren einzelnsten Erscheinungen, wie in ihren höchsten Gesetzen. (XXIX, 112-13)

Similarly, in a letter to Goethe of 27 March 1801 detailing his reactions to Heinrich Friedrich Link's travel report Bemerkungen auf einer Reise durch Frankreich, Spanien, und vorzüglich Portugal, Schiller also dismisses Link as a 'Verstandesmensch' (XXXI,26), thus registering his disapproval of Link's clear inability to appreciate the sublime landscapes he encountered during his travels through the Iberian peninsula.28 27

See also the following poems: Die Götter Griechenlands, An die Astronomen, Die Zergliederer, Metaphysiker und Physiker, Die Vielwisser, Theophagen, Genialität, Der Genius and the 'Xenie' Der astronomische Himmel. See Alfred Opitz, 'Durch die Wüste, Lichter tragend . . . Sozialgeschichte und literarischer Stil in den Reiseberichten über die Iberia um 1800', in Reise und soziale Realität am Ende des IS. Jahrhunderts, herausgegeben von Wolfgang Griep und Hans-


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

In the light of these views, it is not surprising that Schiller should share the Moderns' love of the sublime, arguing in Zerstreute Betrachtungen that ugly, irregular, enormous and terrifying natural objects evoke an intense sensation of pleasure in the percipient: 'Es giebt Gegenstände, die zugleich häßlich, den Sinnen widrig und schrecklich, unbefriedigend für den Verstand und in der moralischen Schätzung gleichgültig sind, und die doch gefallen, ja die in so hohem Grad gefallen, daß wir gerne das Vergnügen der Sinne, und des Verstandes aufopfern, um uns den Genuß derselben zu verschaffen' (XX,224). Analysing the different characteristics of a beautiful and a sublime landscape and the different reactions which they provoke in the contemplator, he stresses that the former landscape arouses a purely pleasant sensation in the onlooker: 'Die reiche Mannichfaltigkeit und der milde Umriß der Gestalten, das unendlich wechselnde Spiel des Lichts, der leichte Flor, der die fernen Objecte umkleidet, alles wirkt zusammen, unsere Sinne zu ergötzen. . . . Wir sind aufgelöst in süße Empfindungen von Ruhe' (XX,225). In contrast, the beautiful landscape becomes sublime if a violent storm blows up and darkens the sky and the landscape. The pleasant sound of bird song now gives way to deafening claps of thunder, and flashes of lightning only serve to illuminate the frightening aspects of the scene. These natural phenomena are destructive rather than beneficial to Man, their abruptness and violence mark them as ugly rather than beautiful, they cause pain rather than pleasure to the senses because of the sudden transition from darkness to light and from silence to the clap of thunder, and yet, paradoxically, Man feels a sensation of mixed pleasure in contemplating them which is much more enjoyable than the sensation of pure pleasure experienced in the contemplation of beautiful landscapes.29 In another illustration, Schiller analyses the typical reaction to the sight of a wild hill in the middle of a beau" tiful plain. Displeasure at the sight of an ugly object in the midst of beauty disappears if the hill is so large that the human eye can hardly perceive it in a single image. Similarly, the hill becomes more attractive to

Wolf Jäger, Neue Bremer Beiträge, 1 (Heidelberg, 1983), pp.188-217 (pp.209-16). Opitz sees the reductive character of Link's travel report as the result of his scientific approach to Nature and his belief in Enlightenment values which prompt him to condemn any landscape which is not cultivated and to shun the elemental and irrational aspects of Nature. Schiller also analyses the differences between the 'Gefühl des Schönen' and the 'Gefühl des Erhabenen' in Ober das Erhabene: XXI, 41-43.

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Über das Erhabene


the percipient than the beautiful plain which surrounds it if it looks as though it were about to topple over. Schiller is not, however, content with merely agreeing with the empirical judgment that sublime landscapes are preferable to beautiful landscapes, for, as we have seen, he always insisted that an empirical judgment of taste only has aesthetic value and general validity if it is legitimised by a priori principles. In all three essays on the sublime, he is at pains to show that the mixed sensation of 'delightful horror' which certain objects provoke in the Moderns is not an arbitrary empirical reaction but an aesthetic response, for it can be justified by a priori deduction and hence demands the agreement of all. In this aesthetic response to the sublime, the contemplation of a sublime object will always make Man aware of the limitations of his physical being and the superiority and infinite freedom of his moral nature. The feeling of displeasure and pain is thus the result of Man's awareness of his dependency as a physical being, with this dependency only becoming clear to Man when his natural environment presents a threat to his physical safety and his instinct of self-preservation, as for example during a violent thunderstorm or a walk along a mountain precipice. On the other hand, a feeling of pleasure arises when Man becomes aware that despite his physical frailty and vulnerability, he has a capacity for moral freedom which cannot be destroyed by the power of Nature. 30 The grand and infinite elements in Nature serve as a mirror in which Man sees the greatness in himself.31 Through the contemplation of Nature's power, he discovers something permanent and indestructible in his own being, and it is for this reason that he is powerfully attracted to the sublime in Nature and does not flee from it in terror, despite a painful feeling of his own physical limitations: 'Furchtlos und mit schauerlicher Lust nähert er [=der Mensch] sich jetzt diesen Schreckbildern seiner Einbildungskraft, und bietet absichtlich die ganze Kraft dieses Vermögens auf, das Sinnlichunendliche darzustellen, um, wenn es bey diesem Versuche dennoch erliegt, die Ueberlegenheit seiner Ideen über das Höchste, was die Sinnlichkeit leisten kann, desto lebhafter zu empfinden' (XXI,47). In his justification of the Moderns' love of the sublime as an aesthetic response, Schiller sees the special value of the sublime as residing in its capacity to cure the ills of modem Man. As we have seen, Schiller con30


See Vom Erhabenen, XX, 171,184 and 186, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, XX, 229 and Über das Erhabene, XXI, 42,43 and 47. See Zerstreute Betrachtungen, XX, 235 and Über das Erhabene, XXI, 47.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

stantly argues that the abandonment of all conflict and struggle provides no solution for the ills of modem Man, and his thought on the sublime proves to be no exception in this respect. Indeed, as early as 1782, in the philosophical dialogue Der Jüngling und Der Greis, Schiller contrasts striving with lethargic resignation, attitudes ascribed to the youth Selim and the elderly man Almar, and associates them respectively with the sublime and the beautiful. Selim, with his Faustian thirst for the infinite, exults at the roaring of a turbulent river in the distance, and his restless striving and constant search for new challenges are seen to be inextricably linked with a love of the natural sublime. Almar, by contrast, prefers to listen to the soft murmur of a spring, and his desire for peace and the cessation of all activity, longing and striving is associated with a marked preference for the beautiful over the sublime in Nature: 'Ich gehe in meinen Garten, um mich am wiederkehrenden milden Sonnenschein zu weiden' (XXII,81). Selim contemptuously dismisses the man who has given up striving and is completely happy with his lot, seeing him as being content with an 'Elysium' which merely resembles a kitchen garden. For Selim, the moments when his restless spirit resembles stagnant water are those which he detests the most, and he much prefers it when Nature and his soul are in turmoil: Aber ohne Säuseln und ohne Sturm würden seine Wasser [=des Flusses] verderben. Es gibt Minuten, wo mein Geist stillen Gewässern gleichet; kein wohltätiger Wind vermag das drückende Gleichgewicht auseinanderzu schaukeln; der Puls der Natur macht eine Pause, gekrümmt über mich selbst winde ich mich rastlos wie einer, der im Grab erwacht; ein Insekt erbittert mich; ich suche dann mit Gewalt mein Leben wieder; ich vegetiere in einem hohen Grade, ich schwelge. (XXII,80)

Because he embodies the modern age, Schiller is much more sympathetic to Selim's attitude than to Almar's. However, Schiller does not just associate striving with a love of the sublime, for he later claims that the sublime can actually stimulate striving. In the 16th Aesthetic Letter, he stresses that the most valuable aspect of the sublime is its ability to awaken Man from his state of torpor and apathy. In certain cases, particularly in societies where culture has reached a high level, the experience of beauty can have a melting effect which results in a state of complete relaxation, indolence and apathy. This imbalance can, however, be corrected by contact with energising beauty, in

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Über das Erhabene


other words, with the sublime32: 'Für den Menschen unter der Indulgenz des Geschmacks ist die energische Schönheit Bedfirfniß, denn nur allzugern verscherzt er im Stand der Verfeinerung eine Kraft, die er aus dem Stand der Wildheit herüberbrachte' (XX,362). It is thus not surprising that in the essays on the sublime, the particular aspect of the sublime which Schiller stresses is its capacity to provoke, stimulate and challenge Man, hence shaking him out of his apathetic torpor and quiescence. In Zerstreute Betrachtungen, he describes the provocative röle of the natural sublime and its ability to trouble and disturb Man in some detail: Entweder ist es ein Gegenstand, der sich unserm Anschauungsvermögen zugleich darbietet und entzieht, und das Bestreben zur Vorstellung weckt, ohne es Befriedigung hoffen zu lassen; oder es ist ein Gegenstand, der gegen unser Daseyn selbst feindlich aufzustehen scheint, uns gleichsam zum Kampf herausfodert, und für den Ausgang besorgt macht. Eben so ist in allen angeführten Fällen die nämliche Wirkung auf das Empfindungsvermögen sichtbar. Alle setzen das Gemüth in eine unruhige Bewegung und spannen es an. (XX,228-29)

Similarly, in Über das Erhabene, Schiller stresses that without the experience of the sublime, Man would for ever remain in a state of torpor: 'Ohne das Erhabene würde uns die Schönheit unsrer Würde vergessen machen. In der Erschlaffung eines ununterbrochenen Genusses würden wir die Rüstigkeit des Karakters einbüßen' (XXI,S3). He illustrates this argument with an example from the Odyssey: melting beauty in the guise of the goddess Calypso has kept Odysseus captive on her island for a long time, but he is suddenly gripped by a sublime impression in the form of his trusted counsellor Mentor, is reminded of his destiny and the great deeds which he must accomplish, shakes off his torpor and frees himself from the beguiling attractions of the world of the senses. k is this unswerving conviction that Man must be provoked and challenged in order to attain his full potential which prompts Schiller to make his eloquent and memorable apology for the natural sublime:


As Jeffrey Barnouw notes, sublimity is not divorced from beauty in Schiller's thought as it is in Kant's; for Schiller, the sublime is a variation of beauty, 'energising' as opposed to 'melting' beauty: 'The Morality of the Sublime: Kant and Schiller', Studies in Romanticism, 19 (1980), 497-514 (p.501 and pp.SlO-11). See also Amd Bohm, who argues that energising beauty has the qualities of the sublime: 'Melting Beauty and the Fiery Sublime: An Argument of Schiller's Lied von der docke'. Seminar, 22 (1986), 20-31 (p.24).


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96 Wer verweilet nicht lieber bey der geistreichen Unordnung einer natürlichen Landschaft als bey der geistlosen Regelmäßigkeit eines französischen Gartens? Wer bestaunt nicht lieber den wunderbaren Kampf zwischen Fnichtbarkeit und Zerstörung in Siciliens Fluren, weidet sein Auge nicht lieber an Schottlands wilden Katarakten und Nebelgebirgen, Ossians großer Natur, als daß er in dem schnurgerechten Holland den sauren Sieg der Geduld über das trotzigste der Elemente bewundert? Niemand wird läugnen, daß in Bataviens Triften für den physischen Menschen besser gesorgt ist, als unter dem tückischen Krater des Vesuv, und daß der Verstand, der begreifen und ordnen will, bey einem regulairen Wirthschaftsgaiten weit mehr als bey einer wilden Naturlandschaft seine Rechnung findet. Aber der Mensch hat noch ein Bedürfniß mehr, als zu leben und sich wohl seyn zu lassen und auch noch eine andere Bestimmung, als die Erscheinungen um ihn hemm zu begreifen. (XXI,47-48) 33

Contrary to David's claim that Schiller is appalled and repelled by the wildness, disorder and irrationality of the natural sublime, he in fact welcomes these qualities, for if Man's natural environment is not at odds with his physical being, he will merely remain in a state of torpor and apathy and hence be for Schiller an object of contempt. Surrounded by a natural environment characterised by prosperity and order, Man is merely a happy citizen of Nature, but when he lives in a chaotic and irrational environment he is free and is thus the citizen of a higher realm. It is thus clear that Schiller has no intention of retreating to the safe haven of the traditional Classical aesthetic which preferred the beautiful to the sublime, for he categorically rejects regular and ordered landscapes in favour of sublime landscapes which will provoke and challenge Man. That Schiller sees the relationship between modem Man and sublime landscape as highly productive and stimulating is clear in his constant references to the educative role of the natural sublime.34 In Über das Erhabene, he argues that sublime landscape teaches Man to become aware of the independent power and dignity of his moral being: 'Und so hat die Natur sogar ein sinnliches Mittel angewendet, uns zu lehren, daß wir mehr als bloß sinnlich sind; so wußte sie selbst Empfindungen dazu zu benutzen, uns der Entdeckung auf die Spur zu führen, daß wir der Gewalt der Empfindungen nichts weniger als sklavisch unterworfen sind' (XXI,43, my emphasis). In the contemplation of the natural sublime, Man's spirit 33

Wolfgang Dusing rightly argues that Schiller's enthusiasm for the irrational and chaotic elements in Nature points forward to Romanticism proper: Schillers Idee des Erhabenen, Phil.Diss (Koln, 1967), p.168. Schiller first described Nature as Man's teacher in Die Kiinstler, where he argues that the sight of the reflection of a tree in water taught Man in his primitive state the most important principle of art, that of the imitation of reflections or shadows: see stanza lO, lines 116-38.

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Über das Erhabene


will be released from the sphere of reality and the imprisonment of physical matter, and the simple majesty of Nature will teach him to be unwilling to tolerate any faintheartedness and baseness in his own way of thinking. For Schiller, it is this stimulating relationship between the pupil, modern Man, and the teacher, the natural sublime, which prompts men to commit heroic deeds and endows them with superior insight: Wer weiß, wie manchen Lichtgedanken oder Heldenentschluß, den kein Studierkerker, und kein Gesellschaftsaal zur Welt gebracht haben möchte, nicht schon dieser muthige Streit des Gemüths mit dem großen Naturgeist auf einem Spatziergang gebahr - wer weiß, ob es nicht dem seltenern Verkehr mit diesem großen Genius zum Theil zuzuschreiben ist, daß der Karakter der Städter sich so gerne zum Kleinlichen wendet, verkrüppelt und welkt, wenn der Sinn des Nomaden offen und frey bleibt, wie das Firmament, unter dem er sich lagert. (XXI,47)

Schiller's concern with the sublime as an antidote to the slackness of modern Man prompts him to consider the actual qualities of natural objects which enable them to play a r61e in the education of Man. Far from ignoring the particularities of the natural realm as many critics have suggested, he in fact argues in Vom Erhabenen that there is a specific quality in natural phenomena such as precipices, rock faces, storms, volcanoes, huge deserts, Polar winters and lonely woods which compels the subject's imagination to transform them into objects of terror and hence to relate them to his instinct for self-preservation: 'Aber die Vorstellung der Gefahr hat hier doch einen realen Grund, und es bedarf bloß der einfachen Operation: die Existenz dieser Dinge mit unserer physischen Existenz in eine Vorstellung zu verknüpfen, so ist das Furchtbare da. Die Phantasie braucht aus ihrem eigenen Mittel nichts hinein zu legen, sondern sie hält sich nur an das, was ihr gegeben ist' (XX, 188). All these examples are cases of the 'practical' sublime, where a natural object manifests itself as a dangerous and terrifying power, but the same is true of the 'theoretical' sublime,35 where a natural object is so vast that the human imagination fails in its attempt to visualise it as a totality, even though the latter prompts a less intense awareness of the gulf between Man's physical and supersensory being than the former and hence is less effective as a cure for modern Man's ills. In Zerstreute Betrachtungen, For the two categories of the sublime see Vom Erhabenen, XX, 172-75, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, XX, 229-30 (here the two categories of the sublime appear as 'das Erhabene der Erkenntniß' and 'das Erhabene der Kraft') and Über das Erhabene, XXI, 42-43.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

Schiller insists that the sublime reaction in the subject is prompted by a particular quality in the natural object which he is contemplating: 'Obgleich aber das Erhabene eine Erscheinung ist, welche erst in unserm Subjekt erzeugt wird, so muß doch in den Objekten selbst der Grund enthalten seyn, warum gerade nur diese und keine andern Objekte uns zu diesem Gebrauch Anlaß geben' (XX,235). As an illustration of this statement, he cites the qualities of unity and infinite size as the objective properties of natural objects which will prompt an aesthetic reaction in the percipient: 'Zu den objectiven Bedingungen des Mathematisch-Erhabenen gehört fürs erste, daß der Gegenstand, den wir dafür erkennen sollen, ein Ganzes ausmache und also Einheit zeige; fürs zweyte, daß er uns das höchste sinnliche Maaß, womit wir alle Größen zu messen pflegen, völlig unbrauchbar mache' (XX,238). Applying this theory to particular natural objects, he concludes that a single mountain is a more sublime object than the whole horizon into which it towers, and the rock is more sublime than the sea which washes round it, because the mountain and rock possess greater unity than the horizon and sea. However, where the uniformity of the sky and sea is not interrupted by any other object, they will also demonstrate the quality of unity and thus will be sublime objects. Schiller also reasons that immeasurable height is more sublime than the same distance lengthwise because the former is more frightening than the latter and thus has an element of the practical sublime, and that great depth in the form of an abyss is more sublime than great height in the form of a mountain for the same reason. Thus, if a cloudy sky is reflected in a well or in deep water it is more sublime than if the percipient merely gazes up at it from the ground. Such detailed examination of the qualities of the natural objects capable of prompting an aesthetic reaction in Man clearly illustrates Schiller's openness towards the external world. But although Schiller advances a compelling argument for the necessity of the natural sublime in a modern age which encourages slackness, torpor and quiescence in Man, he is not so naive as to believe that all Moderns will respond aesthetically. Nevertheless, this awareness that Man does not always respond to the 'großer Naturgeist' (XXI,47) does not mean that Schiller had any reservations about the sublime. Rather, he recognises that the conditions for an aesthetic reaction must be right, insisting that the natural sublime only succeeds in educating Man where the individual retains some degree of inner autonomy, for if the sublime object arouses real fear, he will merely experience suffering and will not be set free. Man can thus only experience the sublime process if he is not the direct target of Nature's power: the aesthetic judgment that a storm at sea is sublime,

Vom Erhabenen, Zerstreute Betrachtungen, Ober das Erhabene


for example, can only occur if it is witnessed from the shore and not from a ship which is being wrecked by it. 36 Similarly, in Über das Erhabene, Schiller stresses that frightening and destructive objects in Nature will only prompt an aesthetic reaction as long as the percipient is an autonomous •freyer Betrachter' (XXI,50). However, even when the conditions are right, Man himself may be at fault, for he may try to tame the sublime. In Vom Erhabenen, Schiller stresses that a sublime object will only have an aesthetic effect where Man has not used his intellect and physical strength to tame its power: 'Diese Erhabenheit unserer Vernunfitbestimmung - diese unsre praktische Unabhängigkeit von der Natur, muß von deijenigen Ueberlegenheit wohl unterschieden werden, die wir entweder durch unsere körperlichen Kräfte oder durch unsern Verstand über sie, als Macht, in einzelnen Fällen zu behaupten wissen, und welche zwar auch etwas großes aber gar nichts erhabenes an sich hat' (XX, 176). If Man uses his cunning to tame a wild animal or breaks the force of a turbulent river through the construction of dams or canals, hence compelling Nature's power to serve his own needs, these objects will not arouse a feeling of the sublime, for this occurs only where Man as a physical being experiences the power of Nature. 37 Similarly, in Über das Erhabene, Schiller maintains that if Man merely tries to understand the chaos of the natural realm by means of the 'dürftige Fackel des Verstandes' (XXI,48), and is constantly intent upon transforming its disorder into harmony, he will never be capable of responding aesthetically to sublime objects, which he will only ever view with distaste. Man may also be incapable of an aesthetic response to the natural sublime. The Moderns who are mere savages may be surrounded by the most sublime scenery and the most powerful symbols of infinity, but Nature cannot teach them of their nobility because they cannot be awakened from their bestial slumber and are completely insensitive to the voice of Nature which tries to speak to them: 'Daher die stupide Unempfmdlichkeit, mit der der Wilde im Schooß der erhabensten Natur und mitten unter den Symbolen des Unendlichen wohnen kann, ohne dadurch aus seinem thierischen Schlummer geweckt zu werden, ohne auch nur von



See Vom Erhabenen, XX, 178-79. See also Zerstreute Betrachtungen, in which Schiller argues that a bull harnessed to a plough, a horse dragging a cart or a dog are 'gemeine Gegenstände' and only become aesthetic objects if the bull breaks loose and the horse and dog become enraged: XX, 228.


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96

weitem den großen Naturgeist zu ahnden, der aus dem Sinnlich-Unermeßlichen zu einer fühlenden Seele spricht' (XX,237). The same argument recurs in Über das Erhabene, where Schiller stresses that the human being who is dominated by his physical drives will never be capable of responding aesthetically to the natural sublime: So lange der Mensch bloß Sklave der physischen Notwendigkeit war, aus dem engen Kreis der Bedürfnisse noch keinen Ausgang gefunden hatte, und die hohe dämonische Freyheit in seiner Brust noch nicht ahndete, so konnte ihn die unfaßbare Natur nur an die Schranken seiner Vorstellungskraft und die verderbende Natur nur an seine physische Ohnmacht erinnern. Er mußte also die erste mit Kleinmuth vorübergehen, und sich von der andern mit Entsetzen abwenden. (XXI,46)

The savage can never be an autonomous 'freyer Betrachter' (XXI,50), for, as Schiller points out in the poem Die Künstler of 1788, the savage wants to possess all the objects which surround him and is thus incapable of pure reflection and of appreciating Nature aesthetically as semblance: Durch der Begierde blinde Fessel nur an die Erscheinungen gebunden, entfloh ihm [ = d e m Wilden], ungenossen, unempfunden, die schöne Seele der Natur. (1,204, line 112)

The inability of the savage to view Nature aesthetically because he cannot distance himself from his environment is also stressed in the 24th Aesthetic Letter: Umsonst läßt die Natur ihre reiche Mannichfaltigkeit an seinen Sinnen vorüber gehen; er sieht in ihrer herrlichen Fülle nichts, als seine Beute, in ihrer Macht und Größe nichts als seinen Feind. Entweder er stürzt auf die Gegenstände, und will sie in sich reißen in der Begierde; oder die Gegenstände dringen zerstörend auf ihn ein, und er stößt sie von sich, in der Verabscheuung. In beyden Fällen ist sein Verhältniß zur Sinnenwelt unmittelbare Berührung. (XX,389)

At the other extreme, the barbarian, the man whose reason has been overdeveloped by an excess of culture, merely sees the sublime in Nature as an object of dread which reminds him of his physical helplessness and powerlessness. Schiller clearly feels nothing but contempt for the barbarian of culture who shuns all contact with the natural sublime and who willingly debases the grand and impressive forms of sublime landscape in the artificial and regular forms of the French garden:

Elegie [Der Spaziergang]


Was der rohe Wilde mit dummer Gefühllosigkeit anstarrt, das flieht der entnervte Weichling als einen Gegenstand des Grauens, der ihm nicht seine Kraft, nur seine Ohnmacht zeigt. . . . Er kämpft mit dem furchtbaren Genius, aber nur mit irdischen, nicht mit unsterblichen Waffen. Dieser Schwäche sich bewußt entzieht er sich lieber einem Anblick, der ihn niederschlägt, und sucht HGlfe bey der Trösterin aller Schwachen, der Regel. (XX,237)

Only after undergoing an aesthetic education can the savage and the barbarian become capable of responding aesthetically to the natural sublime. There is no need, therefore, to doubt the wholeheartedness of Schiller's support for the pre-Romantic obsession with the stupendous, wild and rugged aspects of Nature, even if he realised that the sublime could not always be effective. For him, the natural sublime is of great significance in a modern age which encourages slackness and listlessness, for it educates Man in so far as he is capable of responding to it. It is for this reason that Schiller admires and reveres the 'großer Genius' (XXI,47) in Nature and urges Man to seek as much contact with it as possible.

III. Elegie [Der Spaziergang] We have seen that in the essays on the sublime, the significance which Schiller attributes to the natural sublime arises from his view of the times. Similarly, in Elegie, written in 1795 and reworked as Der Spaziergang in 1800, he aims to show that while beautiful landscapes were appropriate for early Man who lived in a radically different age, the sublime is more relevant to the needs of modern Man. This idea, advanced in philosophical discourse in the essays on the sublime, is now represented in poetic form. One of the most widely held critical views of Elegie is the belief that the return to Nature in the form of a sublime landscape at the end of the poem represents a regressive step. Claude David, for example, argues that the walker's return to a sublime landscape is associated not with progress or development, but with a return to the savagery of Man in his primitive state, and he sees this as supporting his view of Schiller as hostile towards the natural sublime: Il [=l'homme] ne retrouve la nature qu'en reniant toutes les valeurs lentement édifiées au cours des âges. Et cette "nature", primitive, brutale, sauvage, n'a plus rien de la "sainte Nature", dont il était question peu avant. L'homme a rejoint la "nature", mais pas la bonne. . . . H se trouve ramené à la sauvagerie des premiers âges. . . . La


Schiller and the Sublime 1759-96 "nature" que retrouvent l'homme et le poète est désolée et sauvage: c'est une gorge de