The interpretation of the works of Friedrich Schiller, with Goethe one of the co-founders of German classicism, has long been a central concern of German critics. In a country known as 'the land of poets and thinkers,' the achievements of great writers have been a matter of national pride and identity. But special problems are raised by Schiller, whose dramas address political questions more directly than those of his fellow-classicist Goethe, yet tend to end in a manner that shifts the focus to a general moral or metaphysical level, leaving politically engaged readers dissatisfied. The reception of Schiller's works is thus not only a topic in the history of criticism, but forms a chapter in the history of German political and national consciousness. Given this situation, Professor Pugh's study of the plays' fortunes at the hands of the various schools of German literary scholarship is useful both to literary scholars seeking orientation in the field and also to readers with a wider interest in German intellectual traditions.David V.
Pugh is associate professor in the Department of German, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and is the author of Dialectic of Love: Platonism in Schiller's Aesthetics.