(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Schiller’s second period witnessed a number of fine poems, of which “The Gods of Greece” is typical. It was first published in the March, 1788, issue of Der Teutsche Merkur. Schiller at this time was still full of rebellious spirit. He looked back to ancient Greece, idealizing the past. He contrasted its attempt to help humanity find peace with itself to the soulless concept of Christianity. Schiller later revised the poem in 1793, after its critical reception, by eliminating the passages on Christianity.

Schiller’s poetry usually coalesced around a central tenet or idea. His aim was to appeal to the ear and the mind. Like the ancient Greek thinkers whom he admired, Schiller posed philosophical questions in his poetry about what is good, beautiful, and true in life and proceeded to answer them. The poet believed fully in humanity and anticipated a better future. Schiller grew as a poet, and his style changed from passionate and lyrical exultations to a classical mastery of simplicity and clarity.

The Gods of Greece Bibliography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Garland, H. B. Schiller: The Dramatic Writer. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1969.

Hart, Gail K. Friedrich Schiller: Crime, Aesthetics, and the Poetics of Punishment. Dover: University of Delaware Press, 2005.

Miller, R. D. Schiller and the Ideal of Freedom. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1970.

Nevinson, Henry W. Life of Friedrich Schiller. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger, 2007.

Sharpe, Lesley. Schiller and the Historical Character: Presentation and Interpretation in the Historiographical Works and in the Historical Dramas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Simons, John D. Friedrich Schiller. Boston: Twayne, 1981.

Thomas, Calvin. The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger, 2004.

Ugrinsky, Alexej, ed. Friedrich von Schiller and the Drama of Human Existence. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.