Sometime in the early 1800s, Goethe was walking a secluded, narrow path which led to a mill. There he met an (unnamed) prince, and the two fell into conversation about many subjects, including theatre and particularly Schiller’s play “The Robbers.” The prince’s comment about this work was:
If I had been the Deity on the point of creating the world, and had foreseen, at the moment, that Schiller’s ‘Robbers’ would have been written in it, I would have left the world uncreated.
(from Conversations with Eckermann)
6 thoughts on “Possibly the Most Negative Theatre Review Ever”
Some people have strong opinions.
The prince was just a tad presumptuous, I think.
The world remembers Goethe but who was this prince? His theme about Faustus and Mephistopheles has been timeless and rewritten in countless play and screenplays (Damn Yankees ows its them to Mr Goethe for one)
Anonymous, the Faust legend long predated Goethe, and was the basis of a 1604 play by Christopher Marlowe, among other predecessors.
Ouch. That’s right up there with German composer Max Reger’s ‘review of a review’ of his works —
“I am sitting in the smalllest room in my house. I have your review before me. In a moment, I will have it behind me.”
Goethe and Eckermann agreed that “The Robbers” was the kind of play that was best enjoyed by young people, most of whom would be unable to appreciate Schiller’s maturer work.
A summary of the play is here.
The Faust legend indeed predated Goethe…by centuries…but Goethe added significant complexity and subtlety in his version.
Last year I wrote an extended post on the theme of Ambition in Goethe’s Faust
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