Grillparzers Libussa: The Tragedy Of Separation

Grillparzers Libussa: The Tragedy Of Separation
Tags: William C. Reeve

Reeve not only offers a close textual analysis of the drama from the aspect of separation but shows how Libussa and its author fit into the development of the history of ideas in nineteenth-century Europe. He contends that Grillparzer's work reflects Bachofen, Neumann, Nietzsche, Freud, and Lacan. Using Freudian psychoanalysis, Neumann's investigation of the female archetype, and anthropological studies, Reeve argues that Grillparzer's tragedy portrays the struggle between matriarchy and patriarchy, nurturers and warriors, and rural and urban cultures. Since Libussa proves unable to overcome the gender bias of here male subjects, the play concludes with a symbolic statement of masculine superiority as man and woman remain intellectually and physically apart. Reeve's analysis draws parallels with Grillparzer's other two completed posthumous tragedies, Ein Bruderzwist in Habsburg and Die Jdin von Toledo, relating his findings to the greater context of nineteenth-century German drama.