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The Robbers and Wallenstein (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 28, 1980


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (February 28, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140443681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140443684
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) ranks alongside Goethe as a central figure in the golden age of German literature.

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Wallenstein trilogy is a fascinating work, constructed in an unusual and innovative manner, and marked by unusually powerful language. Wallenstein is a profoundly ambiguous figure. Was he a proto-German nationalist? A seeker of peace and religous moderation? A determined schemer aiming to develop his own Empire? Some combination of all of these? Schiller, who taught history and was the author of a history of the Thirty Years War, seems to have had the same difficulties in defining Wallenstein as everyone else. To approach Wallenstein, Schiller uses an indirect and very creative method. While Wallenstein is the central figure of the trilogy, he is hardly on stage in the first 2 plays, Wallenstein's Camp and The Piccolomini, and even in the last play, Wallenstein's Death, much of the action concerns other characters. Schiller shows Wallenstein by demonstrating his effect on other characters. In the short initial play, Wallenstein's Camp, Schiller presents the common soldiers' attitudes towards Wallenstein. In The Piccolomini, Schiller shows Wallenstein's attributes by dealing with different members of Wallenstein's court, particularly the Piccolomini, father and son officers who struggle with their divided loyalty to Wallenstein and the Emperor. In a brilliant stroke, Schiller makes each of these different characters exemplify a different aspect of Wallenstein's character. In essence, Schiller makes Wallenstein a kind of universal figure exhibiting a huge array of human traits. In the final play, Wallenstein's death, Wallenstein's inability to choose among or reconcile these different aspects leads to a paralysis of decision and his death. This is all presented with superb characterization and powerful language, including Shakespearean-like set piece speechs of considerable poetic power, even in translation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on December 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have reviewed The Robbers separately in another edition, so I am going to focus on Wallenstein here.

Schiller had written a history of the 30 Years War in Germany (1618 to 48). One of the side products of that work was the drama trilogy about Wallenstein, the Bohemian leader of the Catholic (and Austrian) Kaiser's armies in the war against Gustav Adolf, the Swedish patron of German Protestantism. The drama is standard fare on German stages. Its first part was first staged in 1798, while the complete trilogy was published in 1800, after a work process of 10 years.

The play is largely based on history, but takes some freedom with facts, eg adds persons that are not historical. The main plot is about loyalty and betrayal, which is another departure for Schiller, who was previously more interested in hot emotions and starry eyed idealism. Wallenstein is a successful military leader and becomes too popular for the emperor's taste. Attempts are made to split his following and to reduce his command: divide and rule. He learns about these efforts to undermine him and starts his own initiatives, exploring possibilities to change sides and ally himself with the Swedes (whose king is not alive any more by now) against the emperor. He loses the political game and gets assassinated.

For historical background I recommend three quite different books:
The magnificent Wallenstein biography by Thomas Mann's son Golo.
The equally magnificent `picaresque' novel Simplicius Simplicissimus by Jakob Grimmelshausen, a contemporary of the 30 Years War.
For dessert: Guenter Grass, Das Treffen in Telgte, a short novel about a writers' meeting (a 17th century PEN conference?) near the location of the peace agreement of 1648.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. W. Moats on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Excellent translations of Schiller's great work, the Wallenstein trilogy, plus The Robbers. Schiller characterizes through voice, rather than action (though there's plenty of action here, too), creating one of the most poignant tragic characters in all theater (Wallenstein).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amarena on December 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a gorgeous paperback edition and came in the mail looking like it just came off of the printing press. Very satisfied.
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