The School of Days: Heinrich Von Kleist and the Traumas of Education
Wayne State University Press, 1999 - 267 pages
The School of Days establishes Heinrich von Kleist as a strong voice within the pedagogical debates of his times. Through detailed analyses of works by Rousseau, Jean Paul Richter, Kant, and others, it traces Kleist's response to influential pedagogical theories of the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Nancy Nobile examines the relationship of theory and practice in education to illuminate the novelistic impulse, and thus the role of fiction, in pedagogical endeavors.
Nobile demonstrates how Kleist's texts reveal the irrationality and antagonism often inherent in the ostensibly rational act of shaping human beings. She explores the dynamics of trauma in Kleist's depictions of education, arguing that his works frequently stage pedagogical encounters as violent negotiations of gender. Beginning with her argument that trauma is a constitutive element of education in Rousseau's Emile, Nobile explores the role of trauma in both subject formation and the perception of national identity, and considers its ramifications for Kleist's biography, for his fictional characters, and also for the prospect of German nationhood during the Napoleonic wars.
The School of Days provides close readings of works in all genres by Kleist: drama, essay, correspondence, narrative, and lyric. It offers new interpretations of several of Kleist's most familiar works -- "Uber das Marionettentheater, " "Uber die allmahliche Verfertigung der Gedanken beim Reden, " Prinz Friedrich von Homburg -- and also contains detailed commentary on texts usually ignored by Kleistian scholarship: "Allemeuester Erziehungsplan, " "Charite-Vorfall, " and other essays written for the Germania, Phobus, and the BerlinerAbendblatter. While Nobile devotes careful attention to textual detail, she firmly anchors her readings within the political, historical, biographical, and philosophical contexts of Kleist's works. This book will be of interest to scholars of Heinrich von Kleist and German Romanticism as well as those interested in the history of pedagogy.