„Grenzsteine der Kunst“ Goethes Gattungspoetik und die Arbeit an Faust

Johannes Anderegg


Goethe’s correspondence with Schiller concerning the theory of genres (1797) and its offshoot, i.e., the treatise Über epische und dramatische Dichtung are often considered to be the climax of Goethe’s classicism. A widely held opinion has it that Goethe sought normative concepts of epos and drama, primarily as criteria for his own poetic production. However, not one of the works Goethe was writing or publishing at that time corresponds with the theory he and Schiller tried to derive from Homer and Sophocles. On the contrary, his poetic productivity seems to have undermined his theoretical efforts. In 1797 he was working on Faust and this meant shifting more and more towards a non-classical or even anti-classical concept of drama. It was only thirty years later that the treatise Über epische und dramatische Dichtung was published, together with some of Goethe’s and Schiller’s letters: not as an attempt to foster classicist views but rather as a documentation of historical change and of skepticism. (JA; in German)

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