Heinrich von Kleist

Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811), one of Germany’s most enigmatic and celebrated authors, was an aristocrat by birth, a rebel by inclination, a Romantic by temperament, and a stylist of uncompromising rigor whose writings in multiple modes, including drama, fiction, and expository prose, have grown all the more pertinent over time. Kleist lived a restless, roving life, serving stints as a soldier, a bureaucrat, a prisoner, and an unsuccessful newspaper editor. Finding himself in financial straits and personal despair, Kleist, together with his terminally ill lover, committed suicide near the Wannsee in Berlin in 1811.

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