Beyond Sin: Physiologies of Error in Schiller and La Mettrie

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


While other Enlightenment authors’ work emphasizes the symbolic body, Schiller’s medical background and his continued fascination with German Anthropologie influence his focus on the real body beyond its semiotic value. This chapter explores the implicit dialogue among Julien Offray de La Mettrie’s materialist philosophy in Man a Machine, Schiller’s dramas, and Schiller’s medical treatises. The analysis of Schiller’s Die Räuber and his Die Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua in particular suggests that in Schiller’s work, criminal behaviors arise from errors in sensory perception and from physiological aberrations related to nerves, circulation, and body temperature. In addition, Die Verschwörung des Fiesko zu Genua posits the Volk as a collective whose authority is based on material affective experience rather than abstract judgment.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Montclair State UniversityMontclairUSA

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