In his great biography Günter Blamberger gives us a new Kleist: Unlike conventional approaches, he does not try to understand Kleist's life from the perspective of its end—from the perspective of his suicide as the final catastrophe of a life in permanent crisis. Rather, he remains at eye-level with Kleist’s present, narrating from the perspective of Kleist’s experience—in the moment with him—capturing the unsettling or the astonishing in each phase of his life, the explosive nature of each one of his risky experiments in living and writing. The result is an indispensable work of German literary history—a vivid, captivating biography of one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time.
This book discerns in the Baroque an aesthetic phenomenon that crosses both media and national boundaries in its celebration of excess and its disintegration of system, unity, and identity. The compositional principles and theoretical implications of the Baroque, as it first arose in Italian art, find expression in German poetics, drama, poetry, and narrative—expression accessible only through resolute close reading. Readings of Bernini, Borromini, Velázquez, Rubens, Fracanzano, and de Hooch precipitate readings of Opitz, Gryphius, Fleming, Zesen, Hoffmannswaldau, and Grimmelshausen, demonstrating that seventeenth-century German literature both is Baroque and confirms what the Baroque is.