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CHRISTA SAMMONS Lost Schiller Sketches Rediscovered The HISTORY OF Friedrich Schiller's two years in Leipzig and Dresden (17851787 ) is well known. As a permanent houseguest of Gottfried Körner and his wife Maria Stock during most of that time, Schiller found refuge, friendship, and the leisure to complete Don Carlos. These years were further enhanced by the companionship of Maria Körner's older sister Dora Stock and her fiancé Ferdinand Huber. Schiller's affection for and closeness to Körner, obvious in their voluminous correspondence, also found expression in two jocular literary works from these years, the playlet Ich habe mich rasieren lassen, which depicts how Körner got nothing done during one very busy morning, and our subject here, the little pamphlet Die Avanturen des neuen Telemachs oder Leben und Exsertionen Koerners. The Avanturen consist of fourteen rough sketches, drawn and colored by Schiller, poking friendly fun at Körner's daily life. Huber provided each picture with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the whole thing was put together to form a homemade book which the friends presented to Körner, as a kind of family joke, on his birthday in 1786. Maria Körner retained the little volume after her husband's death, but was eventually persuaded to give it to Carl Kiinzel, a paper manufacturer and autograph collector from Heilbronn, extracting from him the promise that before his own death he would destroy any part of the manuscript which might detract from Schiller's or Körner's character. By 1862, however, Kiinzel saw his way clear to publishing the Avanturen without violating the spirit of his agreement with the widow, and a facsimile appeared with the firm of H. Payne in Leipzig. In 1955 a new facsimile of Schiller's 174 GOETHE SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana, Yale University Library. Christa Sammons 175 sketches was published by the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt of Stuttgart, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Schiller's death.1 This twentieth-century edition was produced from Kiinzel's 1862 facsimile, for it was believed that the original manuscript of the Avanturen had in the interim been lost. In his postscript to the 1955 publication, Hermann Seyboth speculates that Kiinzel probably destroyed Schiller's manuscript. The original sketches and commentary have, however, been part of the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana at Yale University for several years. The manuscript consists, as suggested above, of fourteen sheets measuring approximately 21x35cm., folded in half to form two pages per sheet, and piled one on top of the other. Schiller's watercolor drawings appear on the recto of each first page of the folded sheets, while Huber's commentary occupies the recto side of the second pages, continuing on the verso sides where necessary. One sheet of similar paper is folded around the pack of sketches and bears the title. The inner pages appear once to have been sewn together, but are now loose. The facsimiles are quite accurate, with one amusing exception on the second leaf. That leaf, entitled "Körners Schriftstellerei," is divided into five sections labeled Fig. 1-5, the commentary being similarly divided. Fig. 1 shows the mailman bringing the publisher Göschen a letter from Körner which is supposed to be printed in the Thalia: Göschen upsets a chair in his excitement. Fig. 2 shows the letter being set in type with a boy carrying away the proof sheets. Fig. 3 depicts the critic promising immortality to this piece of writing "die sie auch, troz dem kleinen Unfälle auf Fig. 4 würklich erhält." There the commentary breaks off until Fig. 5 and there is no sketch under Fig. 4 in either facsimile. Fig. 5 goes on to show, retrospectively, how Körner looked while he wrote the letter, a "nachdenkende himmelanblickende Gestalt" seated at his desk. Seyboth quite plausibly theorized that Fig. 4 is blank because Körner's literary efforts came to naught; but unknown to the twentieth-century editor, Kiinzel must have deleted the fourth sketch and its commentary, which describes the "kleiner Unfall" that befell Körner's letter in the following manner...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-9087
Print ISSN
0734-3329
Pages
pp. 173-176
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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