Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Kleist, Heinrich von "The Prince of Homburg"

Kleist, Heinrich von "The Prince of Homburg" (Prinz Friedrich von Homburg oder die Schlacht bei Fehrbellin) - 1809/1810

Even though there was a real Prince of Homburg who fought at the Battle of Fehrbellin in 1675, the name is the only resemblance to the play.

As with any other written plays, I do prefer them performed as this is what they were made for. However, it is always quite interesting to read them once, as well.

This one definitely has to take into account that it was written at the beginning of the 19th century when winning a war was the most important subject most people talked about (although, times haven't changed THAT much!)

The play has it all, love and war. I found the historical background interesting and therefore am glad I read this.

From the back cover:
"'Tell me, please - is this a dream?' The night before he leads his troops into battle, the prince of Homburg strips off his uniform and goes sleepwalking. Moonstruck, his mind races with a young man's fantasies - love, ambition and victory. But when the morning comes, a single reckless act of disobediance sets in motion a chain of events that leads inexorable to the one thing he never dreamt would happen; his own death. 

Heinrich von Kleist is one of the most enigmatic figures in theatre history. Driven to suicide at the age of 34, he left behind him seven extraordinary plays. Unperformed during his own lifetime, The Prince of Homburg is now regarded as von Kleist's masterpiece and is one of the most mysterious and beautiful plays of the nineteenth century."

I also read "The Marquise of O.", a novella which I liked a lot better.

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