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Wittels, F. (1954). Heinrich Von Kleist—Prussian Junker and Creative Genius: A Study in Bisexuality. Am. Imago, 11(1):11-31.

(1954). American Imago, 11(1):11-31

Heinrich Von Kleist—Prussian Junker and Creative Genius: A Study in Bisexuality

Fritz Wittels, M.D.

In studying life and work of Heinrich Von Kleist we will not only come to an insight into this great and unlucky man as an individual but, maybe, also to a psychological understanding of Prussian education and its results in the period after Frederick the Great, whose tradition survived for almost two centuries.

Heinrich Von Kleist was born and raised on the arid soil of Brandenburgh, Prussia's motherland. Kleist was one of the greatest poets and playwrights in the German language. Outside of Germany he is little known, translations cannot re-create the particular flavor of his work. In his own country he was more and more appreciated after his death (1811), reaching the peak during the nationalistic period in Germany after 1870. No other creative genius was deeper rooted in the soil of Prussia, no one better qualified to convey the spirit of his country with its discipline, sense of duty, extremism in obedience, and rebellion.

All his lifetime he was staggering from one failure to the other. He did not see even a single one of his plays performed on the stage. He never could free himself from the doom of self-destruction. He was a clear case of agitated depression, definitely presenting a psychosis in periods of exaeerbation.

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