Presentation on theme: "April 24, 2008 Humanities Core Course Today's Plan 1)Talk about the research paper 2)Preparation for Midterm."— Presentation transcript:
April 24, 2008 Humanities Core Course Today's Plan 1)Talk about the research paper 2)Preparation for Midterm
"What's on the midterm?" The midterm will cover everything in lecture, and the readings from the beginning of the quarter up until... Week Five Lecture #1. This means that you'll be tested on Antigone, Brecht, Kowalke, Kohlhaas, and Gandhi. This means you will not be tested on Savarkar.
"When is the midterm?" The Midterm is April 30th.
Today we concentrate on Kleist's Kohlhaas. Historical Context: The historical Kohlhaas's actions were predicated on the Peasants' War with its Twelve Articles, and Luther's religious revolt. While the political revolt was an immediate failure (though it laid the grounds for an eventual "success"), the religious revolt somewhat of a success. Both of these revolts are in the background of the historical Kohlhaas's action. Both events, in some sense, make Kohlhaas's own actions possible. Or at least likely. Political Revolt: Property rights and legal redress were some of the issues for which the peasants went to war. This was an effort to establish personal property, and to allow individuals corruption-free means by which they could establish and defend such personal property. Religious Revolt: A specific example of the kind of thing that Luther was fighting against was the selling of indulgences, a practice whereby those who represented the state church would sell sins so that the consequences of those sins would be waived. This was apparently something corrupt and bad.
A special note on getting into Kleist's Kohlhaas: Professor Hart started off her discussion of Kohlhaas with a prolonged discussion of the historical contexts which situate the story. That discussion included the Peasants' War, Luther, and the practices of the state religion, the Holy Roman Empire. This was a long and detailed discussion. You should be concerned about absorbing the spirit of that lecture, so that you can better understand Kohlhaas. If you were not present at that lecture, then you need to find someone who was, and make them you new friend. This is one of those instances were the lecture itself is a kind of primary text for us, especially since we don't have any readings corresponding to that lecture. If you can't remember what that lecture was about, and can't find someone who took good lecture notes, then I would suggest you do some outside research. Maybe spend an hour reading relevant Britannica entries? By "relevant" I mean entries on the Peasants' War, Luther, and the political structures of 1520's Holy Roman Empire. Here is how this note is "special." In the review sessions I won't be doing all this for you. I will be helpful as I can, but I'm not going to just repeat was said in lecture.
For instance, you should know why some Princes were interested in siding with Luther against the Holy Roman Empire. Anybody?
Why were some Princes were interested in siding with Luther against the Holy Roman Empire? Well, there were two reasons: Luther argued that the Prince's did not need to pay taxes to the Holy Roman Empire, and that the peasants had to obey their leaders. The latter part of this can be seen in the way in which Luther comments on one of the peasants' uprising, where they impaled a bunch of nobles. He appealed to the bible's passages about following established governments. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's (i.e., his coins or his salads). That's just an example. Get my point? Moving on...
An important theme in Kohlhaas, in this quarter on doing, is the differences between actions mediated and actions immediate. We're told that Antigone is a doer who executes her actions directly, herself. At every step of the way, she's alone. And then we see Kohlhaas who is compelled to go through others, and must act with others when not going through others, when he acts. At every step of the way, he's not alone in accomplishing his actions.
The Epistemological Crisis... This follows from the mediacy that Kohlhaas feels. He has to go through layers and layers of sedimented power. To get to justice he has to go through all of these different hula- hoops. To make it an epistemological crisis, see how justice and truth are aligned for Kohlhaas. Justice will come in the form of an official judgment (one that he likes), and judgments are things that involve truth. So, insofar as he has to jump through so many hula- hoops to get to justice, he has to jump through them to get to truth. Truth and Justice here are one and the same for Kohlhaas. Notice how Kohlhaas thinks he knows the truth, but he wants it to be given an official stamp so that it can be called "justice."
I am now going to switch to a standard "midterm review" set of questions. They are similar to the study questions in spirit, but different in word.
KLEIST’S MICHAEL KOHLHAAS ( ) A. Historical Background * What is the Roman Holy Empire ( )What is the Roman Holy Empire ( ) * Same question for the Peasant revolt of 1525Same question for the Peasant revolt of 1525 * What are the 12 articles of March 1525?What are the 12 articles of March 1525? * What is the Weinsberg massacre of April 1525? * Who is Martin Luther, and what is his role in the Peasant Revolt?Who is Martin Luther, and what is his role in the Peasant Revolt? * What are the 95 theses on the power of indulgences of 1517?What are the 95 theses on the power of indulgences of 1517 * What is the Edict of Worms of 1521?What is the Edict of Worms of 1521? * How did Kleist die? Why should we care?How did Kleist die? Why should we care?
KLEIST’S MICHAEL KOHLHAAS ( ) "State privilege." What events mark MK's first border crossing? –a new lord who impedes trade has replaced the old one who favored commerce and the new one demands a permit (127) Legal Action: What does MK demand in his lawsuit? In what order? –punishment of the Junker; restoration of the horses;compensation for his and Herse’s suffering (130-31) "The horses were not the issue." If the horses are not the issue, what is? Has the material loss now yielded to an abstract principle? Why is he selling the farm? –yes; he cannot continue to live under these circumstances and is ready to sacrifice everything to achieve justice
(135ff.) Why does Lisbeth think that she can get to the Elector of Brandenburg? What happens? –because the castellan is an old flame; she is mortally wounded by a guard (138) On what authority does MK, the horse dealer, issue his edict? How does he characterize the authority behind the writ he issues on 148? –that which is inborn in him--now the "sense of justice" from the first paragraph of the story takes precedence over state authority; identifies himself as an emissary of the Archangel Michael-possibly why Kleist changed the name from Hans-and the Provisional World Government, so he is in a sense both church and state
(149-50) How does Luther respond to MK's burning of Wittenberg and other locations? What is MK doing when he notices Luther's proclamation? –condemns him and says the prince does not even know of his suit; about to hang two of his own men who have disobeyed orders and plundered w/o permission—a good example of Kleist’s habit of grammatically subordinating significant detail to possibly less significant information
(152). How does MK evoke the social contract (MK was pre-Rousseau, but Kleist read Rousseau with great interest) in his interview with Luther? –he wages war against society because society cast him out when it denied him the protection of the law. The state failed to keep its end of the social contract and he feels justified in using other means than the law to gain satisfaction
(159) Hinz's solution (safe passage on the horse matter and prosecution for arson and murder) is, he says, acceptable "both to present public opinion and to posterity." How do these two publics differ? Why must he satisfy either or both? –it's nice to please posterity, but public opinion has a very strong role in Kleist's work in general and in MK in particular. If he despairs of truth, it seems that the next best thing is social consensus; also rulers hesitate to offend the masses
(164-71) How are the horses located and recovered? Under what circumstances? –they are traced to a shepherd, but the 2 horses delivered by the knacker (person who buys worn- out livestock) were bought from a swineherd. Wenzel does not recognize them, but MK identifies them; the scene is viewed by a crowd and there are various acts of defiance against Kunz; a riot ensues Who is Johann Nagelschmidt and how does he affect the proceedings? –he reorganizes the band in MK's name, issues edicts, revives suspicions. This is instrumental in the violation of the Saxon amnesty, the letter ruse, and official arrest
(186-88) There are three overlapping jurisdictions involved here. What are they and how do they interact? –Saxony has K; Brandenburg claims him as a citizen and says he must be tried there--actually he owns property in both states; Saxony appeals to the Holy Roman Emperor and asks that an imperial prosecutor try him. The Empire is not bound by Saxony's (violated) amnesty. (211) Describe the enormous significance of the Elector of Brandenburg's asking MK, "Are you satisfied with me?” –a head of state has exerted himself to extend the protection of the law to MK and has asked for his approval as if he were the servant of the citizens-a new and different kind of encounter with government. Brandenburg comes off better than Saxony
(213) If Kohlhaas has been satisfied, why does he swallow the paper? Does he need more revenge? –various answers possible. The Elector of S. denied MK justice, broke the amnesty and perpetrated various deceptions and you don't mess with Kohlhaas; the common man not only strikes down a head of state, but also demonstrates that there is a part of him that state power cannot touch. Also, MK is vengeful. The theological implications of committing an act of revenge as one is dying are not really developed.
Some Advice: You should make for yourself a map Like this one.