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The Case of LiteratureForensic Narratives from Goethe to Kafka$
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Arne Höcker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749353

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749353.001.0001

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Hot and Cold

Hot and Cold

History, Casuistry, And Literature In Schiller And Kleist

(p.71) 3 Hot and Cold
The Case of Literature

Arne Höcker

Cornell University Press

This chapter evaluates Friedrich Schiller's novella The Criminal of Lost Honor (1786), as well as Heinrich von Kleist's novella Michael Kohlhaas (1808–1810). Although Kleist did not explicitly address the poetological questions that Schiller's novella had posed, Kleist's novella is also best understood as a contribution to the discussion of the poetics of cases. The chapter argues that both Schiller's and Kleist's novellas are not only two literary case histories but also, moreover, two cases that comprise what will become distinctions of literature itself: the distinctions between history and story, between history and case, and between case and story. These distinctions are at stake wherever literary texts cite historical material to produce case histories. Rather than merely citing the historical case, these stories refer to the case in history as an instance of storytelling.

Keywords:   Friedrich Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, novella, Michael Kohlhaas, literary texts, The Criminal of Lost Honor, storytelling

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