The Federfuchser-Penpusher from Lessing to Grillparzer: A by William C. Reeve

By William C. Reeve

Targeting Klesel's position in Franz Grillparzer's Ein Bruderzwist in Habsburg, this article argues that Klesel represents the end result of a literary sort - the federfuchser, or pen-pushing secretary.

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He ignores them, even detests them: "Depeschen auch von Eurer Majestat / Gesandten an dem Hofe zu Madrid. / Rudolf schiebt die auf dem Tische liegenden Briefschaften verachtlich zuruck. Er setzt sich und liest, das aufgeschlagene Buch in der Hand" (197-8). " (207). Whereas Klesel pursues a policy of being informed of all events, Rudolf would seem to have adopted a plan of essentially doing nothing, ignoring the problems in the vain hope they will go away in time, and ruling in name only. "Mein Name herrscht, das ist zur Zeit genug.

While Klesel did not serve as the archduke's advisor at that time, his assessment of the incident tells us a great deal about his moral standards: "Und, was das schlimmste, kehrt dann endlich heim / Und habt nichts effektuiert" (103-4). By implication, as long as one achieves one's end, the means do not matter. Success is all that counts. Here we have our first intimation of the Machiavellian Realpolitiker. Klesel's reaction to Mathias's dream of independent glory - "Niemand darum verpflichtet als sich selbst" (no), a highly ironic aspiration given the dependent circumstances in which he voices it - contributes further to his image of the unscrupulous politician: Ich seh' es kommen.

37 The Pen Triumphs Klesel has succeeded in backing Max into a corner, in reducing the senior spokesman of the Habsburgs to a rather pathetic figure subdued by the realization of having been outmaneuvered by a servant. Since Max has been reduced to silence - from this point on he makes only three short statements of a line or less, one of which closes the segment: "Wir sind zu Ende" (946) - Klesel can turn his attention to Ferdinand whose narrow-minded Roman Catholicism renders him a predictable adversary.

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