By Thomas L. Jeffers (auth.)

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But what about someone who doesn’t get sick, and therefore persists on a wrong path? The Abbé can’t or dogmatically won’t help such a person. This hands-off method, as Natalia points out, has been successful for her and Lothario because their capabilities have manifested themselves early, but the capabilities of their sister the Countess and their brother Friedrich have been recessed for years: they have needed more prompting and haven’t gotten it. Natalia is therefore more directive with the orphan girls she teaches.

If his histrionic range is small and the epoch in general unripe for a Shakespearean renaissance, we needn’t altogether endorse Mr. 245, 372). We can imagine him, not too foolishly, doing good journeyman Goethe’s Classical BILDUNGSROMAN 21 work as a provincial theater director. He is at his best when urging the players to attend to often overlooked fundamentals such as moderating their gestures and speaking loudly enough, and to be critics of the pieces performed. And when he passionately demands that the ensemble practice till their timing and coordination are as sharp as an orchestra’s, we can hear echoes of the director of the ducal theater in Weimar, who himself never rose above the level of amateur acting, but who still could believe in the possibility of intelligent performance, shrewdly prompted.

The hegemonic torch would be passed, over the years, from reluctant player to eager player, England to France, France to Germany, and so on. Talking about me was all right, as long as it was incorporated into talk about us, with the us defined racially, ethnically, and culturally over against them—who naturally from their own perspective regard us as them. In Germany, the political circumstances for the evolution of these historicist themes were unfavorable. Given the return to “the old enlightened despotism” after 1815, the failure of democratic revolution in 1848, and then the relentless work of national unification, German thought had no chance for the free, unprejudiced dialectic that might have corrected and purified its principles by experiment.

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