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John Banville bespricht im Guardian John Grays neues Buch The Soul of the Marionette.
A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom
»He opens here by bringing to our attention a masterly 1810 essay on marionette theatre by Heinrich von Kleist – a great German writer little regarded in the English-speaking world – which in the space of half a dozen pages expresses as much about the nature of art, consciousness and human freedom as all of Goethe’s and Schiller’s philosophical musings taken together. Yes, it is that good. […]
Kleist argued that, paradoxical as it may seem, the puppet is free in a way no human being can manage to be, precisely because it lacks consciousness; for us to achieve the gracefulness of puppets, which ›only glance the ground, like elves‹, we should have to have ›either no consciousness or an infinite amount of it‹: that is to say, we should have to be either a marionette or a god. This contention Gray takes as the starting point for and, to some extent, the focus of his brief but intricate ›enquiry into human freedom‹.«

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