On the Aesthetic Education of Man is one of the most profound works of German philosophy, in which Friedrich Schiller analyses politics, revolution and the history of ideas to define the relationship between beauty and art. Resulting from Schiller's deep disillusionment with the course of the French Revolution and expressed as a series of letters to a patron, On the Aesthetic Education of Man is an impassioned attempt to drag mankind upwards from failure to greatness through placing ideas of aesthetic education at the heart of the human experience: 'Our era has actually taken both wrong turnings, and has fallen prey to coarseness on the one path, lethargy and perversity on the other. Having strayed along both paths, it is beauty that can lead [us] back.' Schiller's arguments are as arresting, challenging and inspiring today as when they were first written - it is above all one of the great political statements from a time of revolutionary change.
David Harrower's version of Mary Stuart premiered at the Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow, in October 2006.
Since the publication of the first English edition many corrections and improvements have been made, with a view to rendering it as acceptable as possible to English readers; and, notwithstanding the disadvantages of a translation, the publishers feel sure that Schiller will be heartily acceptable to English readers, and that the influence of his writings will continue to increase.
THE HISTORY OF THE REVOLT OF THE NETHERLANDS was translated by Lieut. E. B. Eastwick, and originally published abroad for students' use. But this translation was too strictly literal for general readers. It has been carefully revised, and some portions have been entirely rewritten by the Rev. A. J. W. Morrison, who also has so ably translated the HISTORY OF THE THIRTY YEARS WAR.
THE CAMP OF WALLENSTEIN was translated by Mr. James Churchill, and first appeared in "Frazer's Magazine." It is an exceedingly happy version of what has always been deemed the most untranslatable of Schiller's works.
THE PICCOLOMINI and DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN are the admirable version of S. T. Coleridge, completed by the addition of all those passages which he has omitted, and by a restoration of Schiller's own arrangement of the acts and scenes. It is said, in defence of the variations which exist between the German original and the version given by Coleridge, that he translated from a prompter's copy in manuscript, before the drama had been printed, and that Schiller himself subsequently altered it, by omitting some passages, adding others, and even engrafting several of Coleridge's adaptations.
WILHELM TELL is translated by Theodore Martin, Esq., whose well-known position as a writer, and whose special acquaintance with German literature make any recommendation superfluous.
DON CARLOS is translated by R. D. Boylan, Esq., and, in the opinion of competent judges, the version is eminently successful. Mr. Theodore Martin kindly gave some assistance, and, it is but justice to state, has enhanced the value of the work by his judicious suggestions.
The translation of MARY STUART is that by the late Joseph Mellish, who appears to have been on terms of intimate friendship with Schiller. His version was made from the prompter's copy, before the play was published, and, like Coleridge's Wallenstein, contains many passages not found in the printed edition. These are distinguished by brackets. On the other hand, Mr. Mellish omitted many passages which now form part of the printed drama, all of which are now added. The translation, as a whole, stands out from similar works of the time (1800) in almost as marked a degree as Coleridge's Wallenstein, and some passages exhibit powers of a high order; a few, however, especially in the earlier scenes, seemed capable of improvement, and these have been revised, but, in deference to the translator, with a sparing hand.
THE MAID OF ORLEANS is contributed by Miss Anna Swanwick, whose translation of Faust has since become well known. It has been. carefully revised, and is now, for the first time, published complete.
THE BRIDE OF MESSINA, which has been regarded as the poetical masterpiece of Schiller, and, perhaps of all his works, presents the greatest difficulties to the translator, is rendered by A. Lodge, Esq., M. A. This version, on its first publication in England, a few years ago, was received with deserved eulogy by distinguished critics. To the present edition has been prefixed Schiller's Essay on the Use of the Chorus in Tragedy, in which the author's favorite theory of the "Ideal of Art" is enforced with great ingenuity and eloquence.
Nam id facinus inprimis ego memorabile existimo sceleris atque periculi novitate. Sallust vom Catilina.
Vorrede. Die Geschichte dieser Verschwörung habe ich vorzüglich aus des
Cardinals von Retz Conjuration du Comte Jean Louis de Fiesque, der
Histoire des Conjurations, Histoire de Gènes und Robertsons Geschichte
Karls V.—dem dritten Theil—gezogen. Freiheiten, welche ich mir mit den
Begebenheiten herausnahm, wird der Hamburgische Dramaturgist
entschuldigen, wenn sie mir geglückt sind; sind sie das nicht, so will
ich doch lieber meine Phantasieen als Facta verdorben haben. Die wahre
Katastrophe des Komplotts, worin der Graf durch einen unglücklichen
Zufall am Ziel seiner Wünsche zu Grunde geht, mußte durchaus verändert
werden, denn die Natur des Dramas duldet den Finger des Ohngefährs oder
der unmittelbaren Vorsehung nicht. Es sollte mich sehr wundern, warum
noch kein tragischer Dichter in diesem Stoffe gearbeitet hat, wenn ich
nicht Grund genug in eben dieser undramatischen Wendung fände. Höhere
Geister sehen die zarten Spinneweben einer That durch die ganze Dehnung
des Weltsystems laufen und vielleicht an die entlegensten Grenzen der
Zukunft und Vergangenheit anhängen—wo der Mensch nichts, als das in
freien Lüften schwebende Factum sieht. Aber der Künstler wählt für das
kurze Gesicht der Menschheit, die er belehren will, nicht für die
scharfsichtige Allmacht, von der er lernt.