Campaigner

wlym.com

Campaigner

Continuedfrom previouspage on to the trick, which the Ameri- politics; she wrote, "he loves po-

Love up and down the East Coast. can Schiller scholar Professor etry, the dramatic art, and litera-

At a time when few theaters ex- Frederick H. Wilkens called a ture in general, for its own sake

isted in America, Schiller had "miserable perversionofthegreat ..."

three of his plays touring the master's works." Although de Sta_l's charactercountry.

Despite the circulation of ization of Schiller gained accept-

Cabal and Love was particu- watered-down translations, ance in gullible circles, it never

larly enjoyed in America, where Schiller was readily acknowl- had the authority she hoped for.

•audiences who had fought Hessian edged as the gretest German poet Professor Calvin B. Thomas, who

mercenaries during the Revolu- and authorby Samuel Miller, "the published the authoritative Life

tionary War relished Schiller's foundinggenius of American and Work of Friedrich Schiller m

denunciation of the same inhuman Presbyterianism," who held the New York in 1901, summed up de

practice, and the petty German chair in ecclesiastical history and Stall's operation succinctly: "In

princelings who supplied Britain church government at the Theo- this characterization, truth to tell,

with these troops for hard cash. logical Seminary at Princeton, there is a considerable element of

The New York Weekly Maga- New Jersey. Miller not only rec- pure moonshine, as anyone may

zine in 1796 became the first ommended that Schiller be read convince himself who will read

American periodical to publish for his moral greatness, but praised through Schiller's letters."

Schiller's poems, when it re- Schiller's historical writings as By 1818, the American openprinted

Daniel Boileau's 1795 par- "most easy, spirited and elegant." hess to Schiller's works convinced

tial translation of Geisterseher According to Miller, "perhaps no publishers to offer other German

(Spiritseer). This was one of the tragic writer of Germany has works in translation. Friedrich

longest poetry serializations of the gained a reputation more exten- Schlegel's Lectures on the History of

time, and in 1801 a complete trans- slve and commanding than Old and Modern Literature were

lation by another translator ap- Schiller, whose Robbers and Don published that year in translation

peared in Philadelphia. Carlos evince powerful talents and in Philadelphia, and the last lec'

Recognizing Schiller's growing have gained universal pop- ture in the work has several sympopularity

and influence in Amer- ularity." pathetic references to Schiller.

ica in this period, the British oli- Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1821 saw another edition of Die

garchs made repeated attempts to translation of Die Piccolomini, Rfi'uberpublished in America, and

blunt theconceptualcontentofhis printed in New York in 1805, in 1825 a Boston publisher reworks

through deliberate mis- opened up the American market printed John Russel's A Tour in

translations. A leading intelligence for Schiller's historical writings, Germany, in which he wondered if

operative, New Hampshire-born and in 1808 advertisements for Goethe had not been praised too

Tory. Benjamin Thompson, was "the fourth American Edition" of much by his contemporaries, as

commissioned to produce an "au- The Robbers appeared in New Schiller "will always remain the

thoritative" translation of York. great national-drarrfatic poet of

Schiller's plays. Thompson, who In 1813 another British-in- Germany."

had fled to England in 1776, had "spired mistranslation of Cabal and

fought for the British during the Love appeared, in which three Lafayette Intervenes

Revolutionary War and been re- characters were eliminated from It was one of the earliest American

warded with the position of War the play, Then, in 1814, a major historians, George Tickner of Bosand

Police Minister of Bavaria for slander operation was undertaken ton, who, in union with the Marhis

service, by Madame de Stall, whose intel- qui.s de Lafayette of France, came

Thompson went so far as to ligence-profile report, Germany, up with the solution to increasing

eliminate altogether the heroine of devoted 70 pages to Schiller. De the circulation of republican Ger-

Cabal and Love and cut whole Stael attemptedto create the myth man-language works, particularly

scenes from a number of acts. that Schiller's art was "art for art's Schiller, without suffering delib-

American audiences soon caught sake," rather than the essence of erate mistranslation. Lafayette

k

58 June 1980 / CAMPAIGNER

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines