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Diderot and Schiller: Parallels in Literary Pictorialism Author(s): I. G. Daemmrich Reviewed work(s): Source: Comparative Literature, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Spring, 1967), pp. 114-132 Published by: Duke University Press on behalf of the University of Oregon Stable URL: . Accessed: 11/11/2011 16:04
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the established tradition of ut pictura poesis, both

Diderot and Schiller frequently employed pictorial descriptions in their literary works. An analysis of their writings reveals that many of their "verbal paintings" continued the long-acknowledged aim of pictorialism, which was to lend great immediacy and visual qualities to abstract thoughts or to emotions.l In the present paper I shall show
1 Thus Rene Wellek placed Diderot near the beginning and Schiller near the end of the first volume of his History of Modern Criticism: 1750-1950 (New Haven, 1955). For general accounts of Diderot's and Schiller's precursors and contemporaries in the tradition of ut pictura poesis, see Cicely Davies, "Ut Pictura Poesis," MLR, XXX (1935), 159-169; William Guild Howard, "Ut Pictura Poesis," PMLA, XXIV (1909), 40-123; Robert Nicklaus, "Diderot et la peinture," Europe, CDV-CDVI (1963), 231-247; and William K. Wirnsatt and Cleanth Brooks, Literary Criticism: A Short History (New York, 1957), pp. 252282. For the influence of literature on painting, see especially Louis Hautecoeur, Litterature et peinture en France du XVIIe au XXe siecle, 2nd. ed. (Paris, 1963). Jean Hagstrum, The Sister Arts (Chicago, 1958), pp. xxi-xxii, defines literary pictorialism as follows: "In order to be called 'pictorial' a description or an image must be, in its essentials, capable of translation into painting or some other visual art. It need not resemble a particular painting or even a school of painting. But its leading details and their manner and order of presentation must be imaginable as a painting or sculpture." Diderot's term "tableau," still used by French criticism today, is defined by Littre in his Dictionnaire de la langue francaise as "Ensemble d'objets qui frappe la vue, et dont l'aspect fait impression." The "tableau" is thus sharply distinguished from the "image" which is defined by Ezra Pound, for example, as "that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time." See Wellek and Warren, Theory of Literature (New York, 1956), p. 176. Wolfgang Kayser, Das sprachliche Kunstwerk (Bern, 1959), p. 185, suggests the word "tableau" as an intermediary concept between "scene" and "image"; "Mit der Szene verbinden ihn [den Begriff] die Bewegtheit und der


Diderot en Allemagne (1750-1850) (Paris. Schiller clearly employed long pictorial descriptions in order to interrupt an action. intimer. 3 Roland Mortier. While criticizing Eggli for frequent lack of evidence.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER that both authors clearly recognized that pictorialism could also fulfill two very important functions within the structure of their works. In this study." RLC. such pictorial description could create aesthetic distance which would enable the reader or beholder to rise above purely emotional identification with a work. mit dem Bild eine letztliche Statik und Unverbundenheit. In contrast. wihrend das Tableau einen 'offentlicheren' Charakter hat. "Diderot et Schiller. Diderot still vacillated between using his tableaux to hurry up a given action or to create a pause. Diderot's interest in actual paintings was far stronger than Schiller's. p. Roland Mortier concurs that both Diderot and Schiller strove to combine an objective concept of Beauty and a demand for the artist's full freedom with the recognition that the artist must be motivated by a love for mankind. stofflich wie erzahlungsmiilig. According to Edmond Eggli. 311. This growing awareness of new possibilities for pictorialism reflects the eighteenth century's gradual trend away from classical French aesthetics. 1954)." 2 Edmond Eggli. specific works of Diderot and Schiller will be analyzed in order to demonstrate clearly the longneglected shift of literary pictorialism's function from supporting eighteenth-century emotionalism to the German classical ideal of aesthetic contemplation. He thereby attempted to free his spectator from a too passionate involvement with the character's fate and ultimately lead him into a state of serene contemplation. his thought reached a far more sophisticated level of clarity and consistency than that of Diderot. By varying his tempo. this shift occurred primarily during the latter half of the eighteenth century. a "verbal painting" could be introduced to retard too intense an action. I (1921). Second. he strengthened his control over his reader's emotions. His Salons gave him the opportunity of not merely describing a great number of paintings but of formulating aesthetic principles which he then delineated in his two theoretical writings on painting: Essais sur la peinture (1766) and Pensees detaches zeitliche Verlauf in sich. Of the two writers.2 But because Schiller wrote a quarter of a century later and profited significantly from his knowledge of Kant's philosophy. in which conflicting views often stood side by side. and both Diderot's and Schiller's works show evidence of the development. Vielleicht darf man auch sagen: das Bild ist stiller. toward new aesthetic theories. 94. First. with its demand that art be subjected to morality. 115 .3 It is within the framework of this synthesis of the artist's ethical and aesthetic ideals that Diderot and Schiller continued and extended the tradition of ut pictura poesis.

718). and awaken the same intimate feelings that nature does in Diderot's soul: "Si je vois une verte prairie. pp. 53-67. p. si tu peux" (Essais. a painting must be structured according to the precepts of beauty." should be worthy of reflection. since a painting can only show one instant in time (Essais. 420-422. 803). 385-436. etonne-moi. that is. see especially pp. harmony are observed (Pensees detachees. la sculpture et la poesie pour servir de suite aux Salons (1775). the action it portrays must be unified around one central theme (Essais. Indeed. de l'herbe tendre et molle." in CEuvresesthetiques. and above all. 714.pp. pourquoi suis-je seul ici?'" (Essais. p. Paul Verniere (Paris. 711. Pensees detachees. 659-742 and Pensees detachees sur la peinture. 665. Although in "Sur le Beau" Diderot detaches himself from his earlier admirationfor Shaftesbury's aesthetics. 112 ff. p. He should strive for a forceful expression of the typical in nature (Pensees detachees. 741-840. Diderot had already delineated the features of "real beauty" as absolute and independent of the observer. 753. pp. 4 Both works are quoted from Diderot. 760).he emphasizesthat Pere Andre's normativeconceptsof order. (Euvres esthetiques. see Lester Crocker. 715). The theme. 712). 711. pp. Third. "Sur le Beau" (1751). fais-moi tressaillir. dechire-moi. it should move men to love virtue and abhor vice (Essais. 1952). symmetry.which in turn must perceivethese characteristicsof beauty in a given object in order to call it beautiful.and unity are all basically ideas emanatingfrom the humanmind. 1959) : Essais sur la peinture. Second. 838). 671). fremir. pp. a painting must be true to nature. Two Diderot Studies: Ethics and Esthetics (Baltimore. in contrast to Shaftesbury's "perceived beauty.pp. as well as in other theoretical writings.pp. arrangement." which depends on the observer's sense of pleasure and intellectual appreciation of a given object. 673. 116 .ed. 758. je me rappellerai celle que j'aime: 'Ou est-elle? m'ecrierai-je. the painting's primary purpose is to affect the beholder's emotions: "Touche-moi. m'indigner d'abord. the composition should be simple and uncluttered by superfluous figures or obscure details (Essais.CinqLecons sur Diderot (Geneva. un coin de foret ecarte qui me promette du silence.5 "Real beauty" is achieved only when the proper proportions. "Recherchesphilosophiquessur l'origine et la nature du Beau. pp. tu recreeras mes yeux apres. pp. pp. a painter must avoid the imitation of nature's immense diversity of ephemeral forms. quite specifically.proportion. de la fraicheur et du secret. pp. mon ame s'attendrira. First.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE sur la peinture. a "great maxim.4 In these two works. Yet. In order to emphasize the unity. 714). it must avoid false effect (Essais. pleurer. 805. In his article for the Encyclopedie. and Herbert Dieckmann. 5 Diderot. 685). Diderot establishes three main requirements for all paintings. p. un ruisseau qui l'arrose. 1959). symmetry. For an analysis of Diderot's complex distinctions and inconclusiveness.

in (Euvres esthetiques. qui le tue. A portrait's expression reflects the portrayed person's entire outlook on life. see Virgil Topazzio.6 Similarly. Sa t&te est droite et relevee." PMLA."FR. See also Herbert Dieckmann. in Paradoxe sur le comedien. La jeune fille qui pleure son oiseau mort. as inspiration for literary treatment: "La jolie elegie! le joli poeme! la belle idylle que Gessner en feroit!"8 This arbitrary judgment. 3-11. 674). Entretiensur le Fils naturel. 306 ff. Diderot sees himself as detached observer: ". 772). and Gita May. p. He must remain cold and indifferent. II. Still. 740).. 8Diderot." FR. la vie a tout ce qu'il touche. 7 Diderot.pp. Consequently. the technique of writing becomes as important as the subject matter treated. 699). Diderot's preference for paintings which exhibit literary characteristics is not so objective. son regard fixe. see Gita May. in (Euvres esthetiques. as well as the statement that good paintings observe the three unities of drama 6 Diderot developsthese thoughtsin great detail in his inquiryinto the necessity for coldness and indifference in acting as well as writing. For a recent continuationof the old controversy about the validity of Diderot's art criticism today. Salon de 1765. II est le maitre dans sa foret.. 1960).. p. not only in order to observe nature accurately. For an analysis of Diderot's continuedadmiration for Chardin. enthusiastic des artist.. p. pp. Thus it is noteworthy to compare the difference in attitude between Dorval. Diderot feels that a novelist's enthusiasm for his subject matter must be compensated for by a deep awareness of the necessity for formal skills (Pensees detachees. mais qui donne l'ame." But whereas Dorval appears as inspired. Color is the painter's life-giving force: "Voila le souffle divin qui les anime" (Essais. 79. ed.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER It is noteworthy." and extols Greuze's painting. the artist who strives to create significant works must himself be unaffected by the emotional appeal of his painting.pp. Cinq Lecons sur Diderot. In the Second Entretien sur le Fils naturel (1757) Dorval paints a glowing portrait of the inspired genius who creates in a passionate frenzy ". 145. qui le consume. "Chardinvu par Diderot et par Proust. 98. 11-21. p. plus il me rappelle la solitude et la franchise de son domicile" (Essais."7 tristes et lignes faibles. however. but to arouse the deepest feelings through his work (Essais. LXXII (1957). Plus je le considere. as Diderot's description of a typical savage demonstrates "un air de fierte mele de ferocite.j'ecris froides. that Diderot emphasizes the importance of two technical components for arousing feelings: color and expression. and that of Diderot himself. 129 ff. 403-418. "In Defense of Diderot's Art Criticism. Jean Seznec et Jean Adhemar (Oxford. "Diderot's Limitations as Art Critic. one of Diderot's fictional characters. XXXVII (1963). He admires the painter Greuze for "linking events so that from them it would be easy to create a novel. XXXVII (1963). 117 .

pp. 1700 (Essays. III. 838). also Diderot's letter to Voltaire. rendue fidelement par un peintre. La verdure nouvelle couvroit les montagnes. faithfulness to nature would require a corresponding break-down of communication to scattered exclamations. Preface to Fables. which Diderot wanted to substitute for Vanloo's "cold" painting. p. are related to Diderot's axiom that since one finds poets in painters and painters in poets. 1957). 88). Not only is Diderot able to structure his pictorial descriptions so realistically that the reader can easily visualize the relationship between the various components. l 9 Cf. 104). words alone can never communicate emotion as poignantly as a painting (Pensees detachees. murmurs. For. Cf. p. 252-253). if the feeling is truly overwhelming.10 If words have become inadequate to convey the profoundest sentiments. p. Entretiens. Diderot asserts that words are to the writer what colors are to the painter ("Sur le Beau. III. see Entretiens. 109-110: "Chardin. Diderot was himself aware of his pictorial imagination. There are numerous examples for both pantomime and "scenes muettes" in Diderot's works. ed. Ker. La Grenee. 272-273. II. never communicate. 755. . in the Salon de 1765: "Il faisoit un beau clair de lune. que.. 117.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE (Pensees detachees. then even literature must depend on paintings in order to communicate inexpressible feelings to the reader. on voyait jaillir leurs eaux argentees. 118 . where very similar thoughts are expressed. 115). p. 63. Extending the parallelism to their respective trades. Les ruisseaux murmuroient. and finally simply sobbing. elle me plairait sur la toile. words are far vaguer and leave much more to the observer's imagination than the "819 tones of the palette" (Pensees detachees. poets can benefit from studying great paintings and painters can profit by reading great books (Pensees detachees. Greuze et d'autres m'ont assure (et les artistes ne flattent pas les litterateurs) que j'etois presque le seul d'entre ceux-cy dont les images pouvoient passer sur la toile. 433). 11 Salon de 1765. p. 100.. Correspondance (Paris.9 However. II. First. 749). Second. in his opinion. Upon this conclusion is based Dorval's demand in Entretiens that both the long-neglected art of pantomime and "scenes muettes" be included in dramas (Entretiens. p. Dryden. Les Graces. On entendoit." p. but through his careful choice of words he is able to awaken in his reader precisely those sentiments which declamation alone could. as he states in Salon de 1767. Many of these "paintings" are drawn with superb skill. p. 773). Consider the description of a warm spring night's harmony and calmness. est un tableau" (Entretiens. He defines the "scene muette" as "a painting" which the Moi of the dialogue further explains: "Une disposition de ces personnages sur la scene. si naturelle et si vraie. Diderot makes a significant two-fold distinction between words and colors. 10 For a vivid description of this sequence.

. elle voit. que j'ai pris l'habitude d'arranger mes figures dans ma tete. in Euvres romanesques.. When the nephew concentrates on mimicking nonhuman instruments.. no human emotions are possible and uncontrolled laughter forces the observer to forget completely his tears of the previous moment. At the same time. his motions become ever more aimless and frenzied and finally lead to an unsightly perspiration and collapse. When the nephew mimics human deeds. such as the corruption of an innocent girl by means of an effective conversation about a delivered billet-doux. the affective quality of such a pictorial description may be lost. for instance." (Euvres romanesques. que peut-etre je les y transporte. In order to communicate the mournful quality of the melancholy Lamentations by Ioumelli. 468. Le Neveu de Rameau. p.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER On the other hand. mais une teinte ridicule etait fondue dans ces sentiments et les denaturait").." 12 Diderot uses the same literary device in order to create the affective picture of the mourning widow in "Les deux amis de Bourbonne": "Elle se leve. This withdrawal has a double effect: as the nephew tries ever harder to imitate nonhuman instruments of music by means of his body and his voice. The desire to distract the observer by introducing a verbal picture at a crucial point is evidenced by Diderot's novels. Cela vient apparemment de ce que mon imagination s'est assujetie de longue main aux veritables regles de l'art. quand j'ecris. the nephew begins literally to enact his song while he sings it. the numerous pantomimes in Le Neveu de Rameau convey their emotional content through the vivid visual quality of the nephew's feverish activity.l2 This procedure has an inherent danger: in concentrating on the purely visual. p. et que c'est sur un grand mur que je regarde. frequently indicated by a breathtaking accumulationof verbs. elle sort. ed. 785. Jacques le Fataliste et son maitre and especially La Religieuse. With this shift of emphasis the touching subject matter gradually recedes into the background. his effect on the observer is to confuse the latter's emotions to such an extent that he no longer knows whether to laugh or to express indignation (p.. 1962). 119 . the observer's attention is drawn away from the song's deeply emotional content to amusement at the nephew's ridiculous gestures. elle crie. elle tombe a la renverse.13 But soon he turns to imitating the instruments of the entire imaginary orchestra accompanying the song.. 413). An example within the structure of the former novel is the narrator's jarring interruption of the suspense created by the hostess' tale about Mme de la Pommeraye to presque comme elles etoient ordonnees dans ma tete. comme si elles etoient sur la toile. The affective appeal of the song has been neutralized by observing the nephew's passionate but hilarious pantomime (" . 13 Diderot. a force d'en regarder les productions. Henri Benac (Paris.

pleine d'embonpoint. Jacques le Fataliste et son maitre. presque jamais entierement ouverts. mais vous ne les avez point vus. Jacques. Elle etait echevele et presque sans vetement. The most striking use of pictures in order to retard Suzanne's relentlessly accelerating misery occurs in the descriptions of the Lesbian Mother Superior's eccentric rule in the convent of Sainte-Eutrope d'Arpajou. et tendres. 241. suddenly comes to a temporary halt before the very specific picture of an insane nun: "Je n'ai jamais rien vu de si hideux. at first glance. see Georges May. une tate fort agreable. elle trainait des chaines de fers. dont la plus jeune pouvait avoir quinze ans. des dents blanchescomme le lait.. For a detailed discussion. des plus terribles imprecations. Diderot et "La Religieuse" (Paris."14His purposefully expansive portrayal of Jacques'. son maitre et l'hotesse. je vous assure. grands. 1954). vifs. elle cherchait une fenetre pour se precipiter. The rapid. que c'etait un assez agreable tableau a voir. her two-year novice period.. p. seem as innocent and domestic as any family scene depicting a loving mother preoccupied with her daughters: Vous qui vous connaissez en peinture. and the hostess' exact position in the room may irritate the impatient reader. Thus. Suzanne and the reader are gradually introduced to her by a series of pictures which. but it also serves to create a distance from his own passionate pursuit of the uproarious Mme de la Pommeraye episode. j'avais oublie de vous peindre le site des trois personnages dont il s'agit ici. fraiche. les plus belles joues. a demi fermes . elle hurlait. inexorable development of Suzanne's misery behind the convent walls in the latter novel is both interrupted and reinforced by a series of poignant pictorial descriptions which force the reader to tarry before resuming full speed. une superieurequi touchait a la quarantaine." [p. lmaginez un atelier de dix a douze personnes. in GEuvres romanesques. the domestic scene is interrupted by Diderot. vous les avez entendus parler.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE say: "Lecteur. La Religieuse. elle courait.. in (Euvres romanesques. ses yeux etaient egares. elle s'arrachait les cheveux.. des yeux noirs. monsieur le marquis. elle se frappait la poitrine avec les poings. p. 15 Diderot.. il vaut mieux tard que jamais. After a detailed portrait of the Mother Superior's capriciousness. et la plus agee n'en avait pas vingt-trois. 359]. elle se chargeait elle-meme. his master's. 14 120 . faute de cette attention. pp. et les autres. des levres vermeilles comme la rose. But to insure that the novel's action does not long retain the immobility of such a tranquil painting.blanche. 622.. glossed over in a few paragraphs of general description."15All the ensuing attempts by the nuns to explain and excuse this frightful figure by words cannot erase Suzanne's deep conviction that this ghastly apparition is a dark foreboding of her own fate if she were to become a nun. 197-237.

Like the Marquis de Croismare in the original correspondence. I1 est tres interessant et tout l'interet est rassemble sur le personnage qui parle. Thus the climax of a long and successful interview with the archdeacon is Suzanne's return to prostrate herself before him: "Je lui dis. mon vetement sale et dechire: 'Vous voyez !' " (p. Je suis bien sfr qu'il affligera plus vos lecteurs que Jacques les a fait rire. Since pictorial description is now employed to show the Mother Superior's rapidly advancing insanity. 387). . XXXVI. sa veritable epigraphe serait: son pittor anch'io. After Father Lemoine has warned Suzanne of her Mother Superior's evil intent. elle se croyait entouree d'esprits infernaux. even the most pathetic words seem inadequate in comparison with the visual appearance of misery. Herbert Dieckmann. d'ou il pourrait arriver qu'ils en desireront plus t6t la fin. C'est un ouvrage a feuilleter sans cesse par les peintres. The same Italian motto is repeated in Pensees detachees. mes pieds ensanglantes. The climax is finally reached in the Mother Superior's horrifying death with its double meaning of "vision": " . (Euvres de Diderot (Paris. op. 307). an aim which Diderot himself stated in a letter to Meister on September 27. Inventaire du Fonds Vandeul et inedits de Diderot (Geneva. Andre Billy. en lui montrant ma tete meurtrie en plusieurs endroits. L'Amateur d'autographes. however. 17 Reproduced in Maurice Tourneux..16 This use of verbal paintings to accelerate as well as retard the novel's action dramatically demonstrates that Diderot's intent in including such pictorial description was to arouse the reader's tears and pity. a constant reminder that the Mother Superior's ugly sin lies hidden beneath the deceptively serene surface. 979. the entire lugubrious atmosphere of the convent. pp. light and shadow. 1780: C'est la contre-partie de Jacques le Fataliste. 171.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER the troubled appearance of Sceur Sainte-Therese. 1951). II est intitule La Religieuse. indeed. je l'ai vue. p. In her effort not only to arouse the sympathy of the Archdeacon but to overcome any indifference or coolness in her reader. in order to create the eerie atmosphere of the Mother Superior's secret passion. I1 est rempli de tableaux pathetiques. et je ne crois pas qu'on ait jamait ecrit une plus effroyable satire des couvents. et si la vanite ne s'y opposait." (p. the verbal pictures themselves no longer create pauses but rather hasten on the ever more repugnant action of the novel. p. 1935). Especially in describing Suzanne's torments under the fanatically cruel Mere Sainte-Christine. cit. Suzanne considers no detail too intimate to be left unsaid. . mes bras livides et sans chair. so every reader must be moved to reach out his arms to the poor forsaken girl in heart-felt commiseration. 227-228... 39. the function and the contents of the ensuing pictorial descriptions shift abruptly.17 16 Georges May aptly points out the dramatic use of black and white. serie nouvelle (1903). 768: 121 . p. je l'ai vue la terrible image du desespoir et du crime a sa derniere heure.

" For the genesis of La Religieuse. the literary artist who wishes to arouse his reader's deepest sentiments must resort to the artistic technique of the painter. ed. 1796: "Fast jedes Dictum ist ein Lichtfunken. der die Geheimnisse der Kunst beleuchtet. V."20 It is noteworthy that Schiller read and reflected upon two of Diderot's works directly concerned with either the relationship of literature to painting or pictorialism as a literary device at a very significant time in his productive life."'8 On January 2. 131. Jonas. and December 17. 848-868. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. 1796. 137. er sucht diese nicht genug in dem Gegenstande und in seiner Darstellung. 1795. Undoubtedly both his enthusiastic reception and his critical re-evaluation of Essais sur la peinture were influenced in part by reflections stated in Uber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung and had at least an indirect influence on Wallenstein. 7 vols. 1797 Schiller ordered from Cotta both Diderot's Essais sur la peinture and La Religieuse. Wallenstein (1796-1799). et dit: son pittore anch'io !" This celebrated exclamation is attributed to Correggio on first seeing Raphael's "Saint Cecilia. et ne les admire point. 35-46. and Henri Benac's presentation in (Euvres romanesques. He had just completed his treatise Uber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung (1795) and was then in the midst of his struggle with the great trilogy. pp. Diderot et "La Religieuse. 238. It was specifically Diderot's stress on the importance of painting for literature which attracted Schiller's attention when he first read Essais sur la peinture in December 1796. 331. see his letters to Goethe. und seine Bemerkungen sind so sehr aus dem Hochsten und aus dem Innersten der Kunst. V. Jonas. 1795. See also Schiller's letter to Korner." summarizes concretely Diderot's conviction that since painting can convey a feeling for human suffering far better than any other means of communication. da3 sie auch alles was nur damit verwandt ist beherrschen und eben wohl Fingerzeige fur den Dichter als fur den Maler sind. V. as he reported in a letter to Goethe on August 7. 20 Jonas. Fritz Jonas." pp. Schillers Briefe. les approuve. 122 . Nov. 29. 1797: "Er sieht mir bei asthetischen Werken noch viel zu sehr auf fremde und moralische Zwecke.19 By the summer of 1797 he had become more critical of the Essais. 353. IV. December 27. (Stuttgart. 19 Schiller had previously wanted Herder to translate La Religieuse. 18 Friedrich Schiller. "I too am a painter. IV.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE The significant motto. In his joy of discovery he wrote to Goethe on December 12. Jonas. Schiller's criticism of too great a stress on concerns external to pure aesthetics in Diderot's treatise furthermore demon"Heureux celui qui parcourant la vie des grands hommes. 1892-1896). see Georges May.

it fails to combine "intellect with the heart" (SA. das Herz erwarmt und entziindet. Already in his "Vorredezur ersten Auflage" of Die RiduberSchiller mentions Diderot's precursor. den Kindern gleich. 123 . See Friedrich Schiller. which. in "An den Herausgeber der Propylaen" (1800). see SA. In order to achieve such a perfect harmony between the responses of these faculties.. 255.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER strates the great shift of emphasis to intrinsic qualities in works of art which occurred specifically in German classicism. 22 In contrasting "true" and "real" nature.22 Yet. 16 vols. of the effect that a great work of art has upon him: "Das Auge wird gereizt und erquickt. (Stuttgart. XVI. .ed. along with Aristotle as an authority on the art of drama. 219). XVI. XII. Because it is the most imitative and therefore closest of all the arts to nature. Eduardvon der Hellen. 1904). according to his definition. all good art must imitate "true" rather than "real" nature (SA. nur die Sch6nheit der Form. 292). Aber wie wenig sagen Gemalde dieser Art dem verfeinerten Kunstsinn. yet no single capacity predominates over the others. must be well structured and must emphasize form rather than content.. Siikularausgabe. Each human faculty is aroused and responds in its own way to a true work of art. sondern die weise Okonomie. 15. der Geist aufgeregt. XVI. Only by stressing structure and de-emphasizing content can visual art avoid a danger inherent in its very nature. den nie der Reichtum. This edition is henceforth cited in the text as SA. In order to free man from his baser instincts. der Verstand beschaftigt und befriedigt" (SA. die nur fur das Sinnliche empfanglich sind und. XII.21 This change is already evident in Schiller's highly synthesized description. nie die Ingredienzien. nur die Feinheit der Mischung befriedigt!" (SA. Siimtliche Werke. Batteux. Leser besonders. pictorialism seems to have one distinct advantage: the artist tends to re21 See Rene Wellek's concludingparagraphin A History of Modern Criticism. nie die Materie. 234. 237). Thus in Uber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung Schiller censors Heinse's novel Ardinghello as ". da3 dieser fippige Farbenwechsel [Burgers Beschreibung der vielen G6ttinnen im Gedicht 'Die beiden Liebenden'] auf den ersten Anblick hinreiBt und blendet. nur das Bunte bewundern. I." for. whether in colors or in words. 234). Schiller specifically rejects a naturalistic portrait of man's real nature. XII. It is precisely the lack of this form-consciousness which Schiller deplores in "tber Burgers Gedichte" (1791) : "Es kann nicht fehlen. nur eine sinnliche Karikatur ohne Wahrheit und ohne asthetische Wiirde. die Phantasie belebt. by using pictorial descriptions.includes all of man's baser aspects. visual art easily entrances its spectator into a purely sensuous pleasure which would immediately destroy the delicately balanced response of all of man's capacities by overemphasizing one. all paintings.

Every work of art. whereas poetry must depict action or scenery by successive descriptions in time (SA." for he consistently uses the word "Gemalde" to refer to purely literary descriptions. colors. a "painting of the soul" (Seelengemilde). He may accomplish this difficult feat by choosing his structure. 261). painting can represent a complex action or scene at once. XVI. Second. 262). Yet. XII. as Schiller indirectly suggests in his comparison of Ariosto with Homer (SA. The good poet. Schiller is acutely aware of two significant differences between poetry and painting. 255. overcome his art's disadvantage by eliminating the arbitrary and individual characteristics of a given object and concentrating on its universally valid form. can. they will form a comprehensive picture for the reader's inner eye (see SA.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE frain from intrusion into his narration as well as from direct appeals to his audience. Then he must choose his images so carefully that when fitted together. XVI. painting is far more self-contained than poetry. mit der sich die Linien im Raum oder die T6ne in der Zeit einander fugen. Schiller accepts as self-evident Diderot's axiom that "one finds poets in painters and painters in poets. it fulfills with one further addition Schiller's precepts for a true work of art (schiine Kunst as distinguished from angenehme Kunst). XII. XVI. die den asthetischen Sinn entziicket. XVI. even the landscape artist or poet can and must introduce a human element into his paintings. however. 124 . The ancient Greek artists and poets satisfied this requirement by concentrating on the portrayal of man himself as the highest possible subject matter for their work (SA. The artist who can express a specific human disposition in a tableau becomes a "painter of the soul" (Seelenmaler) and his product. XII. ist ein natiirliches Symbol der innern Ubereinstimmung des Gemiits mit sich selbst und des sittlichen Zusammenhangs der Handlung und Gefiihle. und in der schonen Haltung eines pittoresken oder musikalischen Stiicks malt sich die noch sch6nere einer sittlich gestimmten Seele" [SA. which has unlimited possibilities in discussing an infinity of ideas (SA. a tableau conveys the impression of great objectivity on the part of the author. Because such a verbal painting assumes a supreme form-consciousness by the poet and an active participation of his reader's imagination. 259]. Consequently. 191). also SA. in representing specific objects and concentrating on their external forms. must convey a human experience or emotion to its spectator. and chiaroscuro in order to suggest a subjective mood: Jene liebliche Harmonie der Gestalten. jene Stetigkeit. As can be seen from the examples cited above. no matter what it represents. At the same time. befriedigt jetzt zugleich den moralischen. First. 185). der T6ne und des Lichts. 184).

But by taking time at such an engrossing moment in the play to draw a careful picture. thereby allowing all his faculties to give a balanced response. 126: "So wie der Chor in die Sprache Leben bringt. Schiller at several crucial moments incorporates literary pictorialism. Consequently. all ornaments. Schiller repeats the same idea in his poem "An Goethe. however. His reason for doing so is the assumption that a spectator following a passionate dramatic development is as much entranced by his senses as in viewing a sensuous picture. the ultimate goal of the verbal picture is that the spectator becomes educated by this pictorial experience. 101). Schiller's. die einem prahlerischen Palast gegeniibersteht-wie schnell schlagt sie meinen auffliegenden Stolz zu Boden! Meine Einbildung vollendet das Gemalde." SA. the beauty that wealth often lavishly displays becomes abhorrent. 191. or details. and at least twice. 25 This function of the picture is identical with that envisioned by Schiller for the chorus in "Uber den Gebrauch des Chors in der Tragodie. The painting begins with four images from which the "inner eye" creates two parallel pictures: the hungry-eyed beggar in the flourishing princely gardens and the broken-down hut next to the sumptuous palace. XI." SA. too. die mich in den blumigten Promenaden eines fiirstlichen Lustgartens anbettelt-eine sturzdrohende Schindelhiitte. 247." if they are to engage all of the spectator's faculties and move him to a meaningful contemplation. too. XI. In order to affect not only the spectator's intellect but his whole person. must rely on literary devices such as pictorialism. Schiller does not intend to convey a purely emotional mood. 89-90. lacks definite color. I. chiaroscuro. Ich sehe jetzt die Flfiche von Tausenden gleich einer gefral3igen Wiirmerwelt in dieser grol3sprechendenVerwesung wimmeln-Das GroBe und Reizende wird mir abscheulich" (SA. which completes the picture with a vision of hideous. but rather a very precise idea: faced with the ugliness of poverty. Since the stage should also provide an educative experience. the dramatist interrupts the action and indirectly invites his spectator to reflect. Like many of Diderot's pictorial descriptions. "wormy" decadence. XVI.24 In order to satisfy this demand in his own dramas.25The effect of such a painting on See "Die Schaubiihne als eine moralische Anstalt betrachtet. XI. this idea is presented through the mediation of the spectator's imagination. die den Charakter eines edeln Kunstwerkes sein 23 24 125 . so bringt er Ruhe in die Handlungaber die sch6ne und hohe Ruhe. actual pictures into the dramatic structure of his plays.23 dramas.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER A good example for these complex components of a verbal painting is Schiller's pictorial description of the grandeur and misery of presentday Italy in his "Brief eines reisenden Danen" (1785) : "Eine hohlaugige Hungerfigur." SA." SA. Unlike Diderot. "Uber das Pathetische. rather than on the "frosty tone of declamations.

plotting how he can take the greatest advantage of the unexpected chance provided by this moment." See also Ilse Appelbaum-Graham. After a "long expressive silence" the first spectator. Even its introduction constitutes a distinct pause from the incessant secret plotting. the dramatist can directly control their response. Having reached a satisfactory conclusion. for not only has the King silently observed the Marquis contemplating the painting. of deep inner contemplation: "Ich k6nnte hier stehen und hingaffen und ein Erdbeben iiberh6ren. sein. III. reacts by identifying emotionally with the subject matter portrayed by the painting. xvii. Fiesco: "Deine Arbeit ist Gaukelwerk-der Schein weiche der Tat(Mit GroBe. The exploration of the painting's form leads Fiesco into a state of nonaction. 29-30. Fiesco. XXIV (1955). was plotting a violent act! But this contemplative state is short-lived."Reflectionas a Function of Form in Schiller's Tragic Poetry. but a moment before." Through his words and the symbolic gesture of overthrowing the canvas. the King nevertheless engages him for a highly confidential service. This state of reflective anticipation continues in the interview. ix. die es erleidet. Denn das Gemiit des Zuschauerssoil auch in der heftigsten Passion seine und heiter von den Riihrungen scheiden.sondern 126 . sich immerklar es soil keinRaubder Eindriicke Freiheitbehalten. to overthrow Doria's regime in Genoa. This calmness gains the King's confidence to such a degree that even when the Marquis has become enraptured by his own enthusiasm for freedom. first by Fiesco alone. III.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE both the dramatic action and the spectator becomes most obvious in the two instances where actual paintings are introduced on stage. is not to the painting's action but to its form. just before his climactic interview with the King. he pauses to reflect before an unnamed and undescribed painting. Verrina." What more astounding change than this sudden quiescence in a man who. The response of the second beholder. The first painting to appear in a play by Schiller is Romano's painting entitled "Virginia and Appius Claudius" in Fiesco. Thus the Marquis' remuf. and shape of the expiring Virginia. was dunur maltest. II. Fiesco indicates his rejection of aesthetic contemplation in favor of a world of action. but the Marquis kneels and stands before the King "without any sign of bewilderment" (Don Carlos. Excitedly the Marquis walks up and down in the King's chamber. expression. Considerably more effective in the play's dramatic structure is the Marquis von Posa's contemplation of a painting in Don Carlos. then with his fellow conspirators. indem er das Tableau umwirft) Ich habe getan. in particular to the features." PEGS. x). Since the spectators here are the characters in the play.

den groBen Gegenstand In einer Reihe von Gemaldennur Vor euren Augen abzurollenwagt. Marleyn. he must rely on such formal techniques as pictorialism in order to achieve this aim. meine Phantasie verliert alle Freiheit. alles Zuriicksehen. wenn er euch Mal ans Ziel Nicht raschen Schritts mit einemn Der Handlung reiBt. ich muB immer beim Objekte bleiben. pp. Yet. even within the dramatic structure of Die Piccolomini and Wallensteins Tod literary pictorialism serves several functions. Briefe und Gespriche. 239-262. however. Schiller clearly recognizes that the dramatic work completely captures the spectator's attention and leaves him no room for simultaneous reflection: "Bewegt sich die Begebenheit vor mir. Geist der Goethezeit (Leipzig. Max Kommerell. the spectator is invited to construct a series of pictures which anticipate the complex person of Wallenstein before his first actual appearance on stage. Addressing his audience. V (1965). A. associated with his contemplation of a painting. (Zurich. R. weil ich einer fremden Gewalt folge. 137-178.Gedenkausgabe der Werke. es entsteht und erhiilt sich eine fortwahrende Unruhe in mir. From the ensuing colorful scenes and images in Wallensteins Lager. Just as the stage appearanceof two actual pictures has caused significant pauses in these dramas. Two important differences must be pointed out. 1942). "Das Bild des Weges und die Sprache des Herzens.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER flective state. Ed. 1930). a verbal painting may lose some of its intended aesthetic effect. 475-476. discussing the difference between epic and dramatic poetry. alles Nachdenken ist mir versagt. has influenced the further development of the drama.H. The effect of pictorialism in a play is cumulative.27Frequent26JohannWolfgang Goethe. 24 vols. so bin ich streng an die sinnliche Gegenwart gefesselt. Geist und Buchstabe der Dichtung (Frankfurt." Deutsche Beitrdge. In a letter to Goethe. Korff. XX. 109-142. II. so the use of literary pictorialism can also retard a play's action and hence may influence its dramatic structure. J. Schiller states this aim concisely in his Prologue to Wallensteins Lager (lines 119-123): Darum verzeiht dem Dichter. Matthijs Jolles."26 If the dramatist then wishes to raise his spectator above the immediate sensuous appeal of impassioned action. he is frequently and abruptly awakened from it by the continuing and often violent action on the stage. even if the spectator actually attains the state of aesthetic contemplation. Ernst Beutler. See O. 1948-1950). since dramatic presentation by its nature does not permit a duration of contemplative silence. "Wallensteinand the Structure of 127 . 27 This aspect has been neglected by critics analyzing the structureof Wallenstein. First. Second.

2603) and in his farewell scene with his father he inverts the significance of the two paths while keeping their images intact: Dein Weg ist krumm. whereas the crooked path denotes cunning and deceit. 1958). The underlying premise here is the thought previously expressed by Diderot. "Schiller-Wallenstein" in Dramen (Diisseldorf. 1954). Realizing that didactic argumentation will never convince Max." Z. I. Benno von Wiese. Octavio tries to persuade his son that the established imperial order is a valuable protection against a ruler's arbitrary force. iv.dt. E.. Octavio paints two versions of the path. pp. that words alone can never convey emotions as poignantly as pictures. the four verbal pictures drawn with considerable detail are first Octavio's. the straight path which Octavio has associated with Max's conduct and the crooked path which he equates with his own. es ist der meine nicht. he suddenly pauses and begins an entirely different approach. 128 Tragedies. As the final line ("So fiihrt sie [die StraBe] spater.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE ly. 17-25.." GR. II. Yet. And Octavio's purpose remains to persuade his son to accept his view. "Bauform der Wallenstein-Trilogie. Thus. its two component images. alles stiinde anders! (W. Schiller has deepened and broadened this basic need for communication to include the entire complex personality of each character. 89-104. XVI (1940). winds around its obstacles instead of smashing them (lines 468-478). sicher doch zum Ziel") demonstrates. L.f. The second function of Octavio's verbal painting is to halt at least Schiller's Schiller's Drama: Theory and Practice (Oxford. in the last scene of Die Piccolomini Max declares: "Mein Weg muB grad sein" (Pic. the didactic element is still present beneath the pleasant veil of images which construct the painting. V. 1192-1194) The straight path is now equated with truthfulness and frankness. Gerhard Storz. the characters attempt to communicate their deepest feelings and convictions to each other by means of verbal paintings. then Max's sincerest endeavors to communicate their entire outlook on life to each other. Bildung. Nie kam es dahin. Stahl. 186-199. Octavio's painting of the path serves two important functions. in Die Piccolomini. I. a goal which he never achieves. repeatedly recur throughout the drama. and the naturally meandering path (the play's symbolic crooked path!) which. T. clearly symbolizing two possibilities of human conduct: the dangerously straight path. vii. 0! warst du wahr gewesen und gerade. like a river. Friedrich . iii. 269304. By means of a number of images carefully combined into a pictorial description. compared to that of the destructive cannonball. Thus. XXXII (1957). First.

Es treibt der ungeschwachte Mut Noch frisch und herrlich auf der Lebenswoge. establishes the desired harmony between father and son.. So bist du schon im Hafen. iii. Zwar jetzo schein ich tief herabgestiirzt. Its purpose is to urge the spectator to reflect once more on Wallenstein's personality before the impending violence. leisurely drawn by the two men. Their fate is never to reach a port. home built by the soldier (lines 490-500). chooses two pictorial descriptions to communicate the desolateness of war and the joy of peace. hohe Flut Wird bald auf diese Ebbe schwellend folgen. vi. II. in Wallenstein's contrast between human deeds and the "sea's blindly rolling waves" (W.. this poetical picture.. and finally in the interchange between Gordon and Wallenstein minutes before the latter's murder: G. III.3573-3575) As part of a scene filled with reminiscences of the past. In subject matter it is the latter verbal painting which continues Octavio's theme. the themes become acceptable to Max. vii. 945). Gordon describes the floundering ship 129 . Questenberg. who replies with a passionate longing for peace. and the released soldier's glorious return home (lines 534-558). and therefore highly fragile. has implications beyond the scene because of its components: the ship filled with desperate men hopelessly cut off from land on a stormy sea. 3555-3560. retards the suspenseful action just before Wallenstein's final downfall. 1626-1630). and even touches the third conversational partner. alter Mann? Ich nicht. Here the ugliness and destructiveness of war are stressed... though directly Max's emotional response to his father's pictorial description of war's destruction. these individual images persistently reappear throughout the drama: in Illo's description of the "true moment" as "Die hohe Flut ists. V. 953-954). Mein Fiirst! Mit leichtem Mute kniipft der arme Fischer Den kleinen Nachen an im sichern Port. die das schwere Schiff / Vom Strande hebt" (Pic. Doch werd ich wieder steigen. symbolizing the purposelessness of Wallenstein's army. Separately or together. Octavio reinforces his desire to achieve a harmony with his son through a second extensive painting depicting the temporary.T. Presented in this manner. in Wallenstein's drastic picture of Octavio's materialistic motives in deserting his friend (W. W. (W.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER momentarily the Piccolomini father-son conflict. The former verbal painting.T. He. Both are imaginary scenes: the pirate ship forever at sea (lines 511-519). Sieht er im Sturm das groBe Meeresschiff stranden.. too. iv. Tod. II. What more effective way is there than to contrast his outlook with that of the humble and moral Gordon on a single subject: a ship in a stormy sea.

iii. III. ii. 130 . vi. ii. Here the painting gains an independence from its immediate dramatic surroundings to communicate a deep sense of foreboding to the spectator.28 Yet. where the picture of the hunt aids Tell in justifying his deed of violence against Gessler. iii. II. After a stride through the room. The former is a folksong. frightfully drawn by Hedwig in the same scene. 318 . At the height of his success Wallenstein emphasizes the stars' spiritual significance by painting them according to the Neoplatonic concept of the harmony of the spheres (Pic. with guitar. vi.. but ever in danger from the arbitrary violence of man . Wallenstein believes his entire life to be governed by the celestial powers incorporated in the timeless stars. an unattainable peace. V. iii. then in human society. Ziel. As one of Jove's children. vii) and her terrifying nightmare of the burning house (Pic. the components of this verbal painting may even assume prophetic meaning.. III. I. In contrast. however. and the house. he begins to introduce subtly the earth. ix.. Reorganized into Max's picture of a burning ship at sea with its crew trapped (Pic. and Schiitze. i and IV. 504. Preis. 978 ff. the two other prophetic visions of the play are lonely utterances by the perceptive Thekla. "Des Madchens Klage" (Pic. i.. Her mournful song. through 28 Parts of both visions reappear in Wilhelm Tell. 231 . and finally with sinister forebodings by Tell himself in narrating his encounter with the Landvogt on the narrow mountain trail. 1899-1912) achieve an additional freedom from the play's immediate concerns by being self-contained poems. such as Kunst. the ship is Wallenstein. and the land. The development of the drama can be followed by a close scrutiny of the recurring picture of the hunt. where literary pictorialism performs the same functions as in Wallenstein: the storm symbolizing violence first in nature in I. Wallenstein's perspective is that of the ship itself riding the rough waves in the ever-present hope of a turning tide. For Wallenstein. see I.. i. as Tell states twice in I. I. whereas the latter forms a complete Shakespearean sonnet with a magnificent Renaissance background of trumpets.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE from the vantage point of the fisherman safely ashore. The symbolism of the painting's components has remained singularly intact: the stormy sea represents the relentless war. the stars represent order. 2641-2646). then following its transformation through the drama. burning only at the conclusion of I. II. i. iii. and are finally reunited in Tell's climactic monologue in IV. gaily portrayed in Tell's song at the beginning of III. Single images from Tell's picture of the hunt reappear in Gessler's dreadful challenge to Tell in III. which he hopes to impose not only on his life and the lives of his men but on Germany as well. 978-986). In contrast. an element conspicuously absent until now. iv. The frightful picture drawn by Max in conversation with his father becomes an effective transition from the end of Die Piccolomini to Wallensteins Tod. the spectator gains his deepest sense of tragedy by scrutinizing carefully the lengthy poetical picture of the stars drawn by Wallenstein in Die Piccolomini.

II. the use of extensive pictorial description to retard at least temporarily a passionate or even violent action was tacitly recognized by Diderot in La Religieuse. the importance of the stars grows dimmer until finally they disappear altogether. Wallenstein symbolically predicts his own end. Their subject matter is easily recognizable.ndEntretien sur le Fils naturel the picture of Dorval enthusiastically contemplating nature's "spectacle" gives the cue for the ensuing dialogue on the nature of genius. and his explanations. as exploited by Schiller in the Wallenstein trilogy. The functions of tightening dramatic structure as well as prophesying the fate of the drama's characters. Furthermore. Yet. 1594 ff. night sky in W. iii. and the fully developed picture Wallenstein paints of the windy. just as in the Seco. As Wallenstein's fate falls. Thus Wallenstein abandons his highly spiritual interpretation of the stars for a search after a sign in order to accomplish a goal-directed action. T.. v. III. Max. Finally. This betrayal of timeless spiritual values for materialistic ends reappears in the conversation shared by Thekla. extend the use of literary pictorialism far beyond Diderot's original intent.. cloudy. Whereas Thekla's pictorial description concretely describes Seni's laboratory. 893. the pictures drawn verbally by the characters in Wallenstein still fulfill all of Diderot's requirements for clarity and unity in structure as well as ability to arouse the spectator's emotions. leaving Wallenstein in physical and spiritual darkness. It is but a small step from here to calling on the stars to determine every important human decision. which he compares to that of myths (lines 1635-1640). 3612-3613. Max extols the stars' symbolic significance. 131 .. if only explicitly expressed by Schiller. Nevertheless Schiller reaches a precision and clarity of thought concerning pictorialism in literary works completely absent in Diderot's 29 See W. while factually reporting the absence of the stars on the night of his murder. V.DIDEROT AND SCHILLER the image of the sower who plans his work according to the stars (lines 987-992). so in Wallenstein Octavio's painting of the path and Thekla's objective description of Seni's laboratory start an interchange of a number of pictures during which the characters' most profound differences of personality and conviction are revealed. as the two pathetic and terrifying visions of Thekla demonstrate. 34063413. and the Grafin about the stars in Pic. indeed. they often seem to realize Diderot's wish for a literary theme. iii. T. iv. T.. V.29Thus. The Grafin's brief picture of the warring planets Venus and Mars (lines 1652-1653) represents even more drastically than Wallenstein's Sternenstunde the corrupted interpretation of the stars as mere signs. its equipment. W.

is loosened by Schiller's new emphasis on reflection. either by hastening or by retarding the dramatic action. Diderot depended on a well-ordered description of a scene or action. Diderot's pictorial descriptions do not differ significantly from descriptions of actual paintings in his Salons. according to Diderot. the sometimes bewildered but always admiring attitude of Moi toward Rameau is an antecedent of Schiller's expectation that the spectator of Die Rduber is to "detest and love. to freeing his spectator from all involvement with the passions represented in order to raise him to a plane of reflection.COMPARATIVE LITERATURE writings. still visible in Diderot's theoretical writings. admire and pity" the robber.30 The most significant dimension added by Schiller to Diderot's stress on paintings is a marked development in the technique of literary pictorialism. Schiller recognizes that visual art is by its very nature far more objective than abstract thought (SA. 31 See Georges May's presentation of the importance of the Salons for Diderot's subsequent writings in Quatre Visages de Denis Diderot (Paris. as the picture of the stars in Wallenstein demonstrates. Indeed. For. the image. so that through aesthetic contemplation he may become a nobler man. Whereas Diderot had simply stated that words are vaguer than colors. easily imaginable within a picture frame.31 Schiller's insistence that verbal paintings are the summation of a number of images so related that the reader may construct a wellorganized picture from them signifies a radical departure from Diderot's more traditional technique. if one excludes their specifically structural functions within his novels or essays. While paintings should. The old bond between art and morality. 209 footnote). Schiller extends their purpose from mere description to the far more sophisticated possibilities of symbolism. It must free the observer's intellect from enslavement to his senses. 1951). In drawing his pictures by words. Schiller envisions a far more complex role for the truly great work of art. move the observer to love virtue and abhor vice." SA. At the same time. XVI. in basing his pictorial descriptions on a purely literary device. pp. even Diderot practiced this new independence from morality in his brilliant portrayal of the amoral Neveu de Rameau. Indeed. 132 . during which the individual is to depend more upon his faculties' response to a work of art than on traditional standards of morality. XII. Wayne State University 30 "Vorrede zur ersten Auflage der Riiuber. Yet. he expands the verbal painting's function within the structure of a work from effectively conveying profound sentiments. Karl Moor. 156 ff. 16.

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