On the Grotesque Humor of Goethe’s “Der Totentanz”

Goethe in the Roman Campagna (1787) by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein. [This paper was written for the seminar on Goethe that I’m taking this semester.] Introduction and Summary Few of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poems have received such sparse and often perfunctory commentary as his 1813 ballad “Der Totentanz.” Most scholars offering critical notations in collections … Read more

Die vier Weltalter; or, Schiller as Proto-Mormon

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805).  The Council of Gods (1518) by Raphael. Next to the immortal Goethe, Friedrich Schiller stands as the great German polymath of Weimar Classicism and the Sturm und Drang (conventionally translated as “storm and stress”) literary movement. Schiller’s works include dramas, poetry, histories, and philosophical essays.  Schiller’s work has endured in popular culture, … Read more