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Fiesco's Conspiracy at Genoa

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Friedrich Schiller

Introduction

John Guthrie

Texte intégral

  • 2 ‘Meine Räuber mögen untergehen! Mein Fiesco soll bleiben.’Schiller, while working on Fiesco, as rep (...)

‘My Robbers may perish! My Fiesco shall remain.’2

Portrait of Friedrich Schiller (between ca. 1786 and ca. 1791) by Anton Graff. Oil on canvas. Dresden State Gallery.1

  • 3 Schiller read Helfrich Peter Sturz, Denkwürdigkeiten von Johann Jakob Rousseau, Erste Sammlung (Lei (...)
  • 4 Schiller’s letter to his later brother-in-law W. F. H. Reinwald, 5 May 1784. Schiller, Friedrich vo (...)

1The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa was Schiller’s second play and the first in which he dealt with a historical subject. After the succès de scandale that The Robbers (1781) had been, Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg restricted Schiller’s movements and he busied himself with finishing his medical dissertation to qualify as a doctor. The dissertation contains a reference to the historical figure of Fiesco, whom Schiller links with Catiline as an example of an extreme character who is led by his senses and passions. The same two figures are again linked on the title page of the play through a quotation from Sallust. Schiller was pointed in the direction of a particular view of the historical figure by Rousseau, who gives Fiesco as an example of the type of the sublime criminal.3 He turned to historical accounts of Fiesco’s conspiracy, but was not interested in adhering to all the historical facts: what fascinated him was a character whose moment of greatest success revealed his weakness and failure. He sensed that his play would more than challenge his audience, and as with The Robbers, he wrote a preface and a further explanatory text that was posted up with the cast list for the first performance in Mannheim. He had a disheartening experience when he read from his play to actors from the Mannheim theatre and they showed no great interest. This was ascribed to his fierce declamatory style and strong Swabian accent. The one-man show was apparently not a good advertisement for staging the play, and this is understandable in view of the plenitude of characters involved, the use of masks and frequent changes of scene. The theatre intendant in Mannheim, Freiherr von Dalberg, was unimpressed and did not immediately offer Schiller the contract he was hoping for. The actor August Wilhelm Iffland, sitting on the same committee judging plays in Mannheim, certainly thought the play had weaknesses. But he also believed that it had great merits and was worth performing. After the play was published in spring 1783, Schiller created a stage version based on some of the suggestions made by Iffland. When the play was performed in Mannheim it was not the success that Schiller had hoped for. He attributed this to the political mentality of his audience: he said he thought there was not enough enthusiasm for republican ideas in the region.4

  • 5 See Liselotte Blumenthal, ‘Aufführungen der Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua zu Schillers Lebzeiten (...)
  • 6 Quoted in WB 2, p. 1174.

2More success greeted a version of Schiller’s play created by Karl Martin Plümicke in Berlin in 1784 and performed widely at other German theatres in the following years. Plümicke adapted the play to the audience’s conservative taste – the revolutionary content is marginalised, the issue of freedom in Genoa and the future of the Republic disappears, monarchy is restored and Fiesco, a much nobler character here, whom both Verrina and Julia fail to kill, renounces his newly acquired ducal status and passes it to the eighty-year-old Andrea Doria before committing suicide.5 Plümicke’s tampering with the play may have been a reason why Schiller decided to make more changes to his own play and create a version for the stage, which was performed in theatres in Dresden and Leipzig. It shows Fiesco being stabbed by Verrina at the play’s conclusion, though Schiller did not himself approve this ending. Schiller’s play, in Plümicke’s version and versions authorized by Schiller, was performed a number of times during his lifetime, but its popularity did not last. A critic in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden suggested in 1792 that plays like The Robbers and Fiesco, in which rebellion and uprising are directly shown, should for the present, when so much was subject to misunderstanding, not be presented on stage.6 Once the radical phase of the French Revolution had set in, the taste for revolutionary plays in Germany died out and plays which dealt with republics became unpopular. Thus, even though the play does not have a clear political message, it was considered to be dangerous.

  • 7 A German translation of Robertson’s History had been published in 1770-1771, and a second edition i (...)

3It is thought that Schiller got to know more about the subject of Fiesco’s conspiracy in 1780 with reading Robertson’s history of the reign of the Emperor Charles V of Spain.7 Robertson as a Scottish Enlightenment historian was keen to show progress in history. He depicted Fiesco’s conspiracy as one of the boldest actions in history and Fiesco as a noble, gifted and charismatic figure whose positive qualities shown in public yet masked deeper and darker ambitions.

  • 8 Des Kardinals von Retz Histoire de la conjuration du comte Jean Louis de Fiesque (Paris 1682).
  • 9 Derek Watts, Cardinal de Retz. The Ambiguities of a Seventeenth-Century Mind (Oxford 1980), p. 134.
  • 10 Watts, pp. 135-136.

4He saw Fiesco as an inscrutable figure who was given to the pursuit of pleasure. His succinct description of the conspiracy was itself based on a detailed account of the events by Cardinal de Retz, which Schiller also studied.8 Retz’s La Conjuration de Fiesque (written in 1638-39) was in turn a bold adaptation of a narrative by the Italian historian Agostino Mascardi. The cautious political orthodoxy and the moral strictures of Mascardi are turned on their head by the young Abbé de Retz, who instead writes an enthusiastic apology for his Genoese hero’s rebellion against the tyranny of the Dorias.9 In de Retz’s depiction of Fiesco, one can detect the idea of the hero as a pre-destined being. His rebellion against authority is motivated by a kind of inner conviction, a personal necessity that drives him to seek gloire at any cost.10

Portrait of Fiesco from Schiller’s 1859 edition of Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua, engraving by Karl Moritz Lämmel.11

  • 12 How like the words in the anonymous letter to Brutus, ‘Speak, strike, redress!’(Julius Caesar II, 1 (...)

5Schiller takes over the uninhibited display of creative energy, the audaciousness and immorality of Fiesco’s actions as well as his independence, his apparent disinterestedness and dissimulation. But the most significant change to the historical facts is with Fiesco’s death – whereas the historical Fiesco had fallen accidentally to his death in the harbour of Genoa, in Schiller’s play his fellow conspirator Verrina pushes him into the sea. This ending was the result of Schiller treating Fiesco as a tragic character. Fiesco is blind to his faults and fails to heed warnings. He plays with the idea of power in his imagination and feels himself superior to the artist Romano, who presents to him his tableau depicting the rape of Virgina by Appius Claudius. The painter merely depicts past events, Fiesco claims, whereas he believes he can control them as they are happening. Fiesco’s fate follows the pattern of Aristotelian tragedy in which the hero loses contact with reality, overestimates his own powers, leading to his destruction. In addition, many elements of Schiller’s play come from Shakespearean tragedy. The idea of basing character tragedy on a historical conspiracy is Shakespearean. There are verbal reminiscences of Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello,12 and thematic links to Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. As Caesar is warned of the Ides of March, Fiesco is warned by the Moor to beware of Doria. Fiesco has elements of Caesar (charisma, yet aloofness and the potential to become a tyrant) as well as of the conspirators (deviousness, the underdog, a rebel against tyranny), while Verrina owes something to Shakespeare’s Brutus (nobility, and tragically divided). Leonora is Fiesco’s Portia, but while Shakespeare’s Portia kills herself, Schiller compounds Fiesco’s guilt by making him her accidental murderer.

6The leaning on Shakespeare shows how in his second play Schiller was learning his trade. His Fiesco can be seen as several plays merged into one. It has been called ‘a republican play without republicans,’ but it is wrong to look for an analysis of republicanism in the modern sense or even from the point of view of Schiller’s own time. Although it deals with republicanism as an alternative to tyranny, the reasons for the failure of the rebellion are to be found in the character of Fiesco rather than the political situation. It is a historical drama but not in the sense that, like Schiller’s later plays, it attempts to show a pattern in the workings of history such as a triadic scheme which points to a goal in the future. Rather, it attempts to examine the remarkable and mysterious character that is Fiesco. Although he has a legitimate grudge against tyranny in Genoa that will come about by the handing of power from the aged Andrea Doria to his younger, depraved nephew Gianettino, he soon becomes obsessed by the idea of the acquisition of power and greatness. He is playing a part in a play, and so involved is he, that he does not sense the potential for events to get out of control. He is unable to achieve the ideal balance between the senses and reason that Schiller believed necessary. He aspires to be great by being seen to do great deeds in the services of what appears to be a political aim. But his egotism gets the better of him. For he knows that politics can be a pretend game and that being seen to be great is a matter of convincing others that you are. He is duped by himself and is his own undoing. He has no real antagonist: neither Andrea Doria, to whom he is opposed but with whom there is no confrontation, nor his former ally Verrina, who sends him to his death. Together they constitute his nemesis.

7There are some ways in which Schiller’s play does not conform to the pattern of classical tragedy. Not everything emanates from the hero’s tragic flaw. The action of the play is carefully motivated and dependent on characters’ behaviour, but there is also a sense of random events and the arbitrariness of fate. This makes the play seem modern. Schiller at this stage of his life was interested in chaos, evil and the interdependence of mind and body rather than the power of the mind to influence events and the conformity of events to a pattern. Thus we find Fiesco himself saying: ‘What reason, that busy ant, drags together laboriously an accidental gust can heap up in an instant’ (Act II, Scene 4). Indeed, the fact that Schiller toyed with different endings is proof that he believed events could take a different turn. The Moor Muley Hassan embodies this unpredictability, and the association with chaos and evil. He pays the price for this and becomes a victim of Fiesco’s revenge and a victim of nemesis.

8Schiller chose to incorporate into his drama what amounts to two other plays that are essentially domestic tragedies, the form of literary drama that had established itself in Germany when he was beginning to write at the end of the 1770s. The first involves Fiesco’s love life. Although he loves his wife Leonora (who is also admired by one of the conspirators, Calcagno), he pursues Julia, the young widowed sister of Gianettino Doria, and then humiliates her in Leonora’s presence. Fiesco accidentally murders the faithful Leonora, thinking that she is Gianettino, in whose cloak she has disguised herself. It is the climax to the tragic misadventures of a libertine and sensualist. But it also points to a deeper split in the hero’s mind which shows that love, domestic life and politics don’t mix. This is made clear in Leonora’s eloquent speech in Act IV, Scene 14, in which she weighs up the claims of ambition for power and love. Although she is a sentimental character, she yet reflects Fiesco’s weaknesses and her death is a consequence of his excesses. As in his later plays, Schiller reveals what it is like to be a woman in a man’s world.

  • 13 Kluge, Commentary to WB 2, pp. 1225-1227.
  • 14 See Nikola Roßbach, Schiller-Handbuch, p. 61.

9The other domestic tragedy is the plot surrounding the conspirator Verrina’s daughter Berta, which owes much to Lessing’s reworking of the Virginia story in Emilia Galotti. Berta is raped by the brutish Gianettino, cursed by her father and locked away. Unlike Emilia, Berta herself is of little psychological interest, and Schiller focuses on her father’s dilemma, integrating the political with the family matter. The play has even been seen (somewhat inflatedly perhaps) as Verrina’s tragedy.13 In this view, domestic tragedy has been moved up a notch to become a matter of state. To be sure, it ends happily, for Berta is reunited with her lover, the noble young conspirator Bourgognino (and true to the form of Shakespearean comedy, she appears in the guise of a young boy). Here, as elsewhere, the play has elements of comedy showing another side to the serious elements, as in the case of Julia Imperiali. There is a comic side to Leonora’s character inasmuch as she appears as the typical woman of sensibility led by her emotions.14 The figure of the Moor, Muley Hassan, also creates levity with his obsequiousness, bluntness, and ostentatiously clipped language. He flatters his master and disguises his own motives. Like one of Shakespeare’s fools he makes nonsensical statements like, ‘My feet have their hands full’ (Act II, Scene 15). He is a character who, although improbable in some respects (Gianettino rather naively puts his trust in him and he rapidly switches allegiances) is linked to the serious themes of the play. He is unlike the Shakespearean fool in that he represents moral evil and Fiesco’s failure to see that underscores his tragedy.

10Links to other forms of theatre, like the Italian commedia dell’arte, in which masks and costume are given priority over realism are striking. Fiesco is a play in which masks play a crucial role, especially at the outset and denouement, but with the metaphor of the mask ever present. The play opens with a masked ball that Fiesco has arranged. It enables him to exhibit his virtuosity and skills of control and manipulation. But his wife Leonora tears off her mask in disgust at her husband’s philandering. Gianettino Doria wearing a green mask commissions the Moor Muely Hassan to murder Fiesco in a white mask. All the conspirators-to-be are masked, suggesting intrigue and deception rather than full-blooded republican idealism. Moreover, the conspirators are linked to the depravity of their opponents through masks: after the masked ball we are told that Berta has been raped by the masked man in the green coat, the hated Gianettino Doria. All this points to the problems Fiesco will encounter by virtue of his desire to impress, control, manipulate. The revenge of the mask occurs in the final act when Fiesco accidentally murders his wife, who has disguised herself in Gianettino’s scarlet cloak. He interprets this as a sign from heaven. Fiesco’s nemesis has come. The mask has fallen; he experiences the shame and agony of not having his wife by his side as the newly proclaimed Duke. He has been beaten at his own game.

11Beneath the masks, we find not just humans but humans that can behave like animals. Characters constantly refer to one another, sometimes half in jest, as a type of animal. Some of this is proverbial, but the recurrent imagery tells us there is a thin line between man’s potential for nobility and his propensity to follow his instinctual nature. The Moor offers himself to Fiesco as ‘your tracking hound, your coursing hound, your fox, your snake, your go-between and henchman. ‘‘One fox can sniff out another,’ Fiesco says to him. Though Fiesco aspires to be the noble lion and rule over all animals, he strikes back like a cornered beast. The animal metaphors resurface on a broader level. ‘Is it exactly a pleasure to be the foot of this sluggish manylegged beast of a republic,’Fiesco asks. Genoa the Republic becomes a sacrificial animal; Verrina tells Fiesco that he has torn Genoa from Andreas Doria, just as a wolf tears the lamb from its mother. In the Genoese world of politics it is the law of the jungle that prevails. Schiller shows us in Fiesco how reason is constantly in danger of being overpowered by man’s animal nature.

  • 15 See p. 121. FIESCO. The rotter was putting Genoa to the torch.
    VERRINA. But that rotter nonetheless (...)

12While elements of both comedy and tragedy can be seen to have been borrowed from various sources, the distinctive feature of Schiller’s early plays is their language. Here again, Schiller was influenced by the same models. Thus we sense the power of rhetoric used to sway the people in Menenius’s famous belly speech from Coriolanus in Fiesco’s tale of the lion and the dog with which he addresses the artisans. Time and again we find character’s making general statements about human affairs that remind us of characters in Lessing’s plays. (One example must suffice: compare Gianettino I, 5, ‘Force is the most effective form of persuasion,’ with Emilia’s words, ‘Seduction is true force,’ in V, 7 of Emilia Galotti.) The Bible was also an important source of inspiration for Schiller’s language. At the same time the sources fade into the background and there are many distinctively original marks in Schiller’s language. The interlocking dialogue between Verrina and Fiesco in the penultimate scene is a good illustration. Verrina’s cross-questioning, one character’s repetition of the other’s words and phrases, or of their own, thrust and counter-thrust, produce sustained tension and pathos, a climactic ending to the political battle which decides the fate of Genoa.15 This is heightened by the use of stage directions (e. g. very moved. ‘‘more pressing.’ ’with terrible scorn’). Schiller’s use of gesture continues along the path begun by Lessing towards a more expressive dramatic language and goes much further, injected as it is with the emotions of the Sturm und Drang: there is an abundance of bodily movement and gesture which emphasises the spontaneity of the action, and is often extreme. Thus the play opens with two characters, Rosa and Arabella rushing onto the stage in disarray, Leonora ripping off her mask and throwing herself into a chair before rising to her feet; it ends with the violence of Fiesco being pushed into the sea.

13Nineteenth-century theatre directors in Germany gradually found their way to Schiller’s play and it had some notable performances. Although it has not been as frequently performed in Germany as Schiller’s other plays, it has held its place on the German stage into the twenty-first century and appears again and again. In the twentieth century, it established itself in the repertoire and made the transition to silent film (in 1921) and television (in 1961 and 1999).

  • 16 G. H. Noehden and J. Stoddart, Fiesco, or the Genoese Conspiracy. A Tragedy Translated from the Ger (...)
  • 17 See Scott’s letter of 5 May 1798 to the pubishers ‘Messrs. Cadell & Davies.’ Ruth M.
    Adams, ‘A Lette (...)
  • 18 Fiesco, Or The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa. An Historical Tragedy translated from the German of S (...)
  • 19 Ibid., p. ii.
  • 20 Fiesco, the Conspiracy of Genoa; A Tragedy. Translated from the German of Friedrich von Schiller. I (...)
  • 21 Edward Stanhope Pearson, The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa. A republican tragedy in 5 acts, transla (...)

14Like other works by Schiller, Fiesco was first translated into English during Schiller’s lifetime. The play had some great admirers in England (more than one reviewer thought it Schiller’s best play) but some detractors too, who criticised improbabilities, characters they found to be repugnant or the play’s extreme style and excessive length. The first translation, by G. H. Noehden and J. Stoddart, attempted to tone down Schiller’s language.16 Sir Walter Scott, strongly interested in German ‘plays of Chivalry’ and thinking that Schiller’s Fiesco had not yet been translated into English had, by 1798, undertaken his own translation, but it remained published.17 There were a handful more translations into English in the nineteenth century. One of them, by Colonel d’Aguilar in 1832 is mostly into prose, but sometimes blank verse. There was much praise for it at the time, though it scarcely reproduces the full range of Schiller’s language and comes dangerously close to plagiarising Shakespeare.18 The translator explains in his preface that the weaknesses of the play and its exaggerations, were a direct result of the German language and of ‘the German school.’19 And so he tried to soften the blow, to polish and refine the play for an English audience. A prose translation appeared anonymously in 1841,20 but surprisingly, the translator makes an exception to prose for Fiesco’s monologue in Act III, where he uses blank verse in an attempt to heighten pathos. He also adds a scene, ‘Berta in the Dungeon.’ which Schiller wrote after the first version of the play and which was inserted at the beginning of Act V for the Mannheim stage version. This translation was followed by the publication in 1849 of a revised version of the first translation by Noehden and Stoddart in the Bohn’s Standard Library, which helped to bring Schiller’s name into the household, was also published in the United States and carried through into the twentieth century, alongside another translation by Edward Pearson, which appeared in the 1890s.21

  • 22 The Observer, February 10 1850, p. 6.
  • 23 Ibid.
  • 24 A production in German at Balliol College, Oxford in 1983. A highly successful production by the Fa (...)
  • 25 See John Guthrie, ‘Classical German Drama on the British Stage. Schiller’s Wallenstein at the Chich (...)

15Schiller’s Fiesco has rarely been performed in Britain. There was an isolated professional performance at Drury Lane Theatre in 1850, when it was adapted to the ‘exigencies of the English stage’ by a certain Mr. Planché, with the excision of several scenes and the addition of others.22 The Observer reviewer found much to praise in the production, particularly the evocation of history and locality, but the play he thought to be without ‘dramatic ingenuity, female interest, or skilful concatenation of events.’23 Whether the translation used was a factor in this lack of success is an open question but it is not surprising that, given the complexities of its plot and the many scene changes required, Fiesco did not find a place on the English stage. Performances in this country have been limited to those by university students of German and by fringe theatres (in English);24 it has not been part of the renaissance of interest in Schiller’s plays that has created such successful productions in the West End and regional theatres in recent decades.25

  • 26 The text can be found in volume 4 of the Nationalausgabe and volume 2 of the Frankfurter Ausgabe of (...)

16There was not only a need for a new translation of Schiller’s play for the twenty-first century, but for a full and accurate translation altogether. Unlike some of the earlier translations, which used a hybrid text, the translation offered here is based on the first version of the play, which Schiller published in book form and which, as we have suggested, can be considered the most authentic and original version of the play.26 The language of Schiller’s early plays is often extreme, with some difficult metaphors. But it is also often immensely powerful. Flora Kimmich’s translation achieves, in the first instance, accuracy and completeness. There is no attempt to tone down Schiller’s language, make it more poetic, less compressed, or to eradicate obscurities. Her translation conveys the energy, intensity and roughness, the occasional elaborateness that Schiller’s prose drama abounds in. It gives us the full flavour of the original without overly attempting to update or modify it. It has the faithfulness a good translation requires. At the same it does not attempt to archaise and use a form dramatic dialogue in English that might have been a parallel to that of Schiller’s. It is a long overdue translation of Schiller’s play as well as one for the twenty-first century.

Notes

2 ‘Meine Räuber mögen untergehen! Mein Fiesco soll bleiben.’Schiller, while working on Fiesco, as reported by Karl Philipp Conz. Quoted in Friedrich Schiller, Werke und Briefe, 12 vols. (Frankfurt 1980-2004) (abbreviated as WB), vol. 2 Dramen I, ed. Gerhard Kluge (Frankfurt 1988), p. 1182. I am grateful to Alessandra Tosi, Flora Kimmich and Charlotte Lee for their comments on an earlier version of this introduction, to Francis Lamport, whose translations of Schiller and infectious enthusiasm for Schiller’s dramas on stage have long been a source of inspiration, and finally to Charles Freeman for a guided tour of Genoa in September 2014.

1 Image in the public domain, from Wikimedia Commons. See http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anton_Graff_-_Friedrich_Schiller.jpg

3 Schiller read Helfrich Peter Sturz, Denkwürdigkeiten von Johann Jakob Rousseau, Erste Sammlung (Leipzig 1779). See pp. 145-146.

4 Schiller’s letter to his later brother-in-law W. F. H. Reinwald, 5 May 1784. Schiller, Friedrich von, Schillers Werke. Nationalausgabe. Ed. Julius Petersen et al. 42 vols. (Weimar: Herman Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1943-). Vol. 23, p. 277.

5 See Liselotte Blumenthal, ‘Aufführungen der Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua zu Schillers Lebzeiten (1783-1805),’Goethe. Neue Folge des Jahrbuchs der Goethe-Gesellschaft 27 (1995), 60-90; here pp. 75-78.

6 Quoted in WB 2, p. 1174.

7 A German translation of Robertson’s History had been published in 1770-1771, and a second edition in 1779: Dr. William Robertsons Geschichte der Regierung Kaiser Carls des Fünften. Aus dem Englischen übersetzt... von Julius August Remer, 3 vols. (Braunschweig 1770-1771). See G. Kluge, Commentary to WB 2, p. 1149.

8 Des Kardinals von Retz Histoire de la conjuration du comte Jean Louis de Fiesque (Paris 1682).

9 Derek Watts, Cardinal de Retz. The Ambiguities of a Seventeenth-Century Mind (Oxford 1980), p. 134.

10 Watts, pp. 135-136.

11 Image from Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Friedrich_Pecht_gez,_Schiller-Galerie,_Friedrich_von_Schiller,_Sammelbild,_Stahlstich_um_1859,_Fiesco_aus_Die_Verschw%C3%B6rung_des_Fiesco_zu_Genua,_Karl_Moritz_L%C3%A4mmel.jpg. Scan by Bernd Schwabe, CC BY 3.0.

12 How like the words in the anonymous letter to Brutus, ‘Speak, strike, redress!’(Julius Caesar II, 1) is the artisans’ exhortation to Fiesco: ‘Strike! Throw down! Set free!’(Fiesco II, 8) before he relates to them an allegory of the sharing of power in the animal kingdom so reminiscent of Menenius’belly speech in Coriolanus; Verrina’s ‘When do we meet again?’(Fiesco II, 19) to the witches in Macbeth; Leonora’s ‘Let me not pronounce it in your hearing, virginal light!’(Fiesco III, 3) to Othello’s ‘Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!’(Othello V, 2). Schiller read Shakespeare’s works in Wieland’s prose translations.

13 Kluge, Commentary to WB 2, pp. 1225-1227.

14 See Nikola Roßbach, Schiller-Handbuch, p. 61.

15 See p. 121. FIESCO. The rotter was putting Genoa to the torch.
VERRINA. But that rotter nonetheless spared the laws?
FIESCO. Verrina is torching my friendship.
VERRINA. So much for friendship.
This is a technique which Schiller develops to great effect in his later plays.

16 G. H. Noehden and J. Stoddart, Fiesco, or the Genoese Conspiracy. A Tragedy Translated from the German of F. Schiller (London 1796). William Taylor points out that Schiller’s line ‘Werde du eine Hure –’ is weakened to: ‘And thou may’ st become a prey to dishonour!’ See William Taylor, review of Fiesco, Monthly Review, n. s. 22 (1797), pp. 204-206.

17 See Scott’s letter of 5 May 1798 to the pubishers ‘Messrs. Cadell & Davies.’ Ruth M.
Adams, ‘A Letter by Sir Walter Scott,’ in: University of Rochester Library Bulletin 11 (1956). https://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?PAGE=3430

18 Fiesco, Or The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa. An Historical Tragedy translated from the German of Schiller. The copy in the Bodleian Library, Oxford shows the translation to be by ‘the late Col. George d’Aguilar.’ The title page has a quotation from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII (Act IV, Scene I, ll. 440-442): Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition, /By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,/ The image of his maker, hope to win by it?

19 Ibid., p. ii.

20 Fiesco, the Conspiracy of Genoa; A Tragedy. Translated from the German of Friedrich von Schiller. In Five Acts (London 1841).

21 Edward Stanhope Pearson, The Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa. A republican tragedy in 5 acts, translated (Dresden 1896).

22 The Observer, February 10 1850, p. 6.

23 Ibid.

24 A production in German at Balliol College, Oxford in 1983. A highly successful production by the Faction Theatre Company, dir. Mark Leipacher, was staged at the New Diorama Theatre in London in 2013. Nevertheless, the reviewer of the Faction production was also critical of the ‘intentional anachronisms’ and modernisation of the translation. See Roger Smith, One-Stop Arts.com, 10th January 2013. The text used, Schiller’s Fiesco by Daniel Millar and Mark Leipacher (unpublished), is a substantially condensed version and thus an adaptation rather than a translation.

25 See John Guthrie, ‘Classical German Drama on the British Stage. Schiller’s Wallenstein at the Chichester Festival,’ Modern Drama 54 (2011), 121-140.

26 The text can be found in volume 4 of the Nationalausgabe and volume 2 of the Frankfurter Ausgabe of Schiller’s works.

Table des illustrations

Légende Portrait of Friedrich Schiller (between ca. 1786 and ca. 1791) by Anton Graff. Oil on canvas. Dresden State Gallery.1
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2318/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 81k
Légende Portrait of Fiesco from Schiller’s 1859 edition of Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua, engraving by Karl Moritz Lämmel.11
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/2318/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 118k

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