Wilhelm Müller Criticism - Essay

James Taft Hatfield (essay date 1895)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Poetry of Wilhelm Müller," Methodist Review LXXVII, 5th ser., Vol. XI, July, 1895, pp. 581-94.

[In the following essay, Hatfield praises Müller both for pioneering the lyric cycle form that presents its progress of action through a loosely-knit sequence of poems, and for the excellent metrical qualities, descriptiveness, characterization, and range of feeling found in various poems of Müller's cycles.]

Those who cherish Miller's poetry, and believe that it is destined to find more and more a place in the hearts of men, have seen with pleasure the many tributes of appreciation which have recently been paid him in all parts of Germany and in Greece,...

(The entire section is 4804 words.)

Margaret E. A. Richardson (essay date 1923)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Wilhelm Müller's Poetry of the Sea," Modern Language Review 18, 1923, pp. 323-34.

[In the following essay, Richardson examines the originality of Müller's Muscheln von der Insel Rügen and Lieder aus dem Meerbusen von Salerno as contributions to poetry about the sea.]

The development of sea-poetry in Germany prior to the appearance of Müller's Muscheln von der Insel Rügen (1826) and Heine's Nordsee (1826-7) has not been adequately investigated. The lists only include the most obvious names; P. S. Allen, for instance, mentions Brockes, F. L. Stolberg, Boie, Goethe, Tieck and Heine; and to these A. Pache adds E. von Kleist and S....

(The entire section is 5023 words.)

Helen Meredith Mustard (essay date 1946)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Flowering of the Narrative Cycle: Uhland, Wilhelm Müller, Heine," in The Lyric Cycle in German Literature, King's Crown Press, 1946, pp. 78-113.

[In the following excerpt, Mustard contends that most of Müller's cycles lack unity and cohesion because the individual poems were not written with a specific cycle structure in mind but rather were only incorporated into a given cycle after composition.]

Wilhelm Müller is one of the few poets whose entire lyric production tends to be cyclic. All the poems which Müller himself published in his collections are arranged in groups with descriptive titles, such as Reiselieder, Ländliche Lieder, Lieder aus dem...

(The entire section is 4180 words.)

Alan P. Cottrell (essay date 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Die schöne Müllerin," in Wilhelm Müller's Lyrical Song-Cycles: Interpretations and Texts, The University of North Carolina Press, 1970, pp. 8-34.

[In the following excerpt, Cottrell examines the themes and images found in Die schöne Müllerin [The Pretty Maid of the Mill], showing how Millier uniquely fashioned the German folk song tradition to portray his own sense of the meaning of life and death as a process toward self-knowledge.]

The final version of the song-cycle Die schöne Müllerin, published in 1820, consists of twenty-three poems which are framed by a prologue and an epilogue. This frame will not concern us here. The cycle...

(The entire section is 10014 words.)

Cecilia C. Baumann (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Poet," in Wilhelm Müller: The Poet of the Schubert Song Cycles:His Life and Works, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1981, pp. 35-69.

[In the following excerpt, Baumann considers the metrical variations, lyric cycles, use of roles, and affinity to the German folk song of Müller's poetry.]

Ich kann weder spielen noch singen und wenn ich dichte, so sing' ich doch und spiele auch. Wenn ich die Weisen von mir geben könnte, so würden meine Lieder besser gefallen, als jetzt. Aber, getrost, es kann sich ja eine gleichgestimmte Seele finden, die die Weise aus den Worten heraushorcht und sie mir zurückgiebt.1


(The entire section is 2864 words.)

Cecilia C. Baumann and M. J. Luetgert (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Die Winterreise: The Secret of the Cycle's Appeal," Mosaic XV, No. 1, Winter, 1982, pp. 41-52.

[In the following essay, Baumann and Luetgert analyze Die Winterreise in terms of the "stages of dying" outlined in the book entitled Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross."]

Many musicologists consider Franz Schubert's Die Winterreise, a song cycle based on the lyrics of Wilhelm Müller, to be the greatest masterpiece of its genre. The composition is so familiar that Thomas Mann incorporated a song from it ("Der Lindenbaum" also known as "Am Brunnen vor dem Tore") as a musical reference in the closing scenes of his Magic...

(The entire section is 5032 words.)

Susan Youens (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Texts of Winterreise," in Retracing a Winter's Journey: Schubert's Winterreise, Cornell University Press, 1991, pp. 50-72.

[In the following excerpt, Youens interprets Die Winterreise in terms of the quest for self-knowledge, the denial of a comforting transcendant reality or illusion, and the tenacity of life in spite of intense grief and depression over the loss of a loved one.]

Marie von Pratobevera, later the sister-in-law of Schubert's first biographer, Heinrich Kreißle von Hellborn, wrote in a letter shortly after the publication of Winterreise, Part I, that the cycle consisted of "laments over a sweetheart's unfaithfulness … a...

(The entire section is 6506 words.)

J. W. Smeed (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Strange Old Man': Thoughts on the Closing Lines of Winterreise," in German Life and Letters 45, No. 2, April, 1992, pp. 109-113.

[In the following excerpt on "Der Leiermann"—the final poem in Die Winterreise-Smeed explains the word "wunderlich" as an epithet describing the unreasonably eccentric state of mind and actions of both the hurdy-gurdy man and the Wanderer.]

The poetry of Winterreise has for many years now been treated seriously and with respect as a record of ill-fated love, melancholia, cosmic despair or even in cipient schizophrenia;1 the time is past when the author, Wilhelm Müller, could be brushed aside as a minor...

(The entire section is 1833 words.)