zitiert nach: Börsch-Supan / Jähnig 1973, S. 76.

“Unfolds like the Apocalypse” – Heinrich von Kleist writing on the Monk by the Sea, October 13, 1810

In the Berliner Abendblätter, Heinrich von Kleist describes the impression that the Monk by the Sea left on the public at the time: “It is splendid to gaze upon an unbounded watery wilderness, amidst boundless solitude by the seashore, under cloudy skies. Yet it is necessary that one has ventured there, that one must return, that one yearns to cross over but cannot, that one misses everything for life, and still hears the voice of life in the murmur of the tide, the sighing of the air, the drifting of the clouds, the lonely cries of the birds … and so I became a Capuchin, the image was the dune, but what I longed to gaze upon with yearning, the sea, was entirely absent. Nothing can be sadder and more disconcerting than this position in the world: the only spark of life in the vast realm of death, the solitary center in a solitary circle. The image, with its two or three enigmatic objects, unfolds like the Apocalypse, as if it had Young’s Night Thoughts, and since it has nothing but the frame in its uniformity and boundlessness, when one contemplates it, it feels as if your eyelids have been cut away.”