Date of Award

8-1994

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

German

Major Professor

David Lee

Committee Members

Henry Kratz, John C. Osborne, David Tandy

Abstract

This research involves a study of the imagery of war of six poet-soldiers: Diederich von dem Werder, Georg Greflinger, and Christian Brehme, from the time of the Thirty Years' War and Ewald Christian von Kleist, Johann George Scheffner, and Heinrich Wilhelm von Stamford from the time of the Prusso-Austrian Wars. The aims of the study were twofold -- to ascertain how these writers depict war through imagery in their poetic works, and to note changes in such imagery in the intervening century between the two periods of conflict. Attention was focused on certain categories of imagery, including the origins of war, the soldier's cause, nature, death, destruction and deprivation, leaders and heroes, the enemy, the common soldier, and the poet-soldier' s view of himself in war.

The poet-soldiers of the Thirty Years' War era attribute the origin of war to a combination of fate and God's punishment of a sinful people, whereas the eighteenth-century poets point to certain defects inherent in man, such as envy, greed, and lust for power. War compared to destructive aspects of nature is a motif in both centuries, but the later poets also employed in their works images of peaceful nature as a contrast to the chaotic environment of war. The earlier poets express mainly physical deprivation due to war, while Kleist, Scheffner, and Stamford add a component of deprivation of the spirit. Portraits of death in war become more personal and sentimental in the poet-soldiers of the later period, as does the very concept of the soldier. While hero worship of military leaders is a component in the works from the Thirty Years' War, the later poet-soldiers paint a dismal picture of leaders in general, reserving their praise for Frederick the Great. Werder and Greflinger dipict a demonic enemy. Kleist, Scheffner and Stamford see the enemy as barbaric and less civilized than they, but do not depict him as evil. The early poet-soldiers do not write about themselves, while the later poets tend to personalize their description of the soldier's life and cause.

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