Journal of Romance Studies

Rewriting Joan: Schiller’s Johanna

Journal of Romance Studies (2003), 3, (3), 55–73.

Abstract

The article analyses Friedrich Schiller’s play, The Maid from Orleans (Die Jungfrau von Orleans [1801]) as a response to Voltaire’s ribald satire, La Pucelle d’Orléans (1762). Schiller rejected Voltaire’s satire as celebrating reason at the expense of the heart. Using Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part 1, as well as a variety of other sources (the Bible, his own translation of Macbeth, his notion of romanticism, etc.), Schiller attempted to rewrite St Joan to clarify his aesthetics. Rewriting is thus enacted by Schiller on several levels: he ‘corrects’ Voltaire and the Enlightenment; he rewrites Shakespeare’s version of Joan (and of Macbeth) for the German stage; he rewrites fifteenth-century France into the German states of 1800; he completely changes Joan’s story to fit his own notion of tragedy; and he rewrites the notion of religion by eliding it with what he sees as the high aims of fiction. For Schiller, Joan of Arc is the embodiment of beauty and the sublime, precisely because of her contradictions (fierce and murderous warrior, prophetess of divine mission).

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Michelet, Jules (1845–8) History of France: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, trans. G. H. Smith (New York: D. Appleton & Co.). History of France: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time Google Scholar

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Nevinson, Henry W. (1889) Life of Friedrich Schiller (London: W. Scott). Life of Friedrich Schiller Google Scholar

Novalis, Friedrich (1968) ‘Heinrich von Ofterdingen’, in Werke und Briefe, ed. Alfred Kelletat (Munich: Winkler), 283. Heinrich von Ofterdingen Werke und Briefe 283 Google Scholar

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Rackin, Phyllis (1990) Stages of History: Shakespeare’s English Chronicles (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press). Stages of History: Shakespeare’s English Chronicles Google Scholar

Schiller, Friedrich (1902) The Poems of Schiller, trans. E. P. Arnold-Foster (New York: Henry Holt). The Poems of Schiller Google Scholar

Schiller, Friedrich (1943) Werke (Weimar: H. Böhlaus). Werke Google Scholar

Schiller, Friedrich (1962) The Maiden of Orleans: A Romantic Tragedy, trans. John T. Krumpelmann (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press). The Maiden of Orleans: A Romantic Tragedy Google Scholar

Schiller, Friedrich (1985) ‘Theatre as moral institution’, in Friedrich Schiller: Poet of Freedom, vol. I, trans. John Sigerson and John Chambles (New York: New Benjamin Franklin House), 209–20. Theatre as moral institution Friedrich Schiller: Poet of Freedom 209 20 Google Scholar

Schlegel, Friedrich (1967) Friedrich Schlegel: Charakteristiken und Kritiken I (1796–1801), vol. II, ed. Hans Eichner (Paderborn: Schöningh). Friedrich Schlegel: Charakteristiken und Kritiken I (1796–1801) Google Scholar

Shakespeare, William (1958) The London Shakespeare, 6 vols, ed. John Munro, intro. G. W. G. Wickham (New York: Eyre & Spottiswoode). The London Shakespeare Google Scholar

Sharpe, Lesley (1991) Friedrich Schiller: Drama, Thought, and Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press). Friedrich Schiller: Drama, Thought, and Politics Google Scholar

Stapleton, M. L. (1994) ‘“Shine it like a comet of revenge”: Seneca, John Studley, and Shakespeare’s la pucelle’, Comparative Literature Studies 31.3, 229–50. “Shine it like a comet of revenge”: Seneca, John Studley, and Shakespeare Comparative Literature Studies 31.3 229 50 Google Scholar

Vajda, György M. (1999) ‘Schillers’s Jungfrau von Orleans: Eine Volkstümliche Historie?’, in Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest: A Kiadó), 67–76. Schillers’s Jungfrau von Orleans: Eine Volkstümliche Historie? Akadémiai Kiadó 67 76 Google Scholar

Voltaire (1819) Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, 64 vols (Paris: Renouard). Œuvres complètes de Voltaire Google Scholar

Wilde, Oscar (1995) A Picture of Dorian Gray (New York: Signet Classic). A Picture of Dorian Gray Google Scholar

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Meltzer, Françoise