The introduction states the aim of the book—to give a critical account of the role of Shakespeare in Germany’s intellectual tradition of the political Right from 1871 to the post-Second World War era—and provides the necessary background information: the historical origins of the formula ‘Germany is Hamlet’ and the reasons for its periodic rejection; an overview of German Shakespeare reception up to the mid-nineteenth century and an overview of the development towards national unity from the Napoleonic Wars to the foundation of the German Empire. The introduction also proposes a set of criteria common to positions of the intellectual Right from Nietzsche to Carl Schmitt and gives a brief outline of the chapters of the book.
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