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Existential muck: Romantic borderlessness and dissolving dualisms in Schiller's die Räuber

Abstract

The essay investigates Romantic tendencies in Schiller's inaugural drama, Die Räuber [The Robbers]. The play's overt discourse of dualism and exchange rests on a more viscous foundation of existential muck. Franz von Moor's "morastige Zirkel der menschlichen Bestimmung" [muckish cycle of human determination] is a cyclical solvent that engulfs the play's dualisms and dissolves opposition and exchange. Forms rise from the muck, taking on borders (dimensions, limits) and they descend back into the muck, becoming once more borderless. This may be the other side of an all-encompassing Freude [Joy], both originary and terminal, yet as "alle Menschen werden Brüder" [all people become brothers], we are reminded of what it means to be brothers in the Moor clan. As a belated product of the proto-Romanticism of the Sturm und Drang, Schiller's 1781 play is a specimen of retro-proto-Romanticism.

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