Shakespeare Studies by Otto Ludwig

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Otto Ludwig is known in Germany as the father of psychological realism for his narrative prose. He wished to write great dramas, and undertook a detailed study of Shakespeare’s plays to achieve this ambition. The notebooks in which he kept his analyses and observations were published in German after his death but are practically unknown to Shakespeare scholars in England and America. This translation makes them available for the first time.


“Otto Ludwig was a student of music first and a Shakespearean scholar later. His interest in becoming an exemplary German playwright led him to a close analysis of the plays of Shakespeare, whose practice he sought to understand in order to emulate it. Throughout the notes and commentaries he composed for his own personal use, one can detect the language of a musician working across artistic lines ... In her translation, Dr. Ida Washington has captured not only the sense of Ludwig’s observations but also the resonance in his expression of ideas. She gives advanced scholars as well as the general public an elegant set of reflections, criticisms, and brief essays by Otto Ludwig, which can now be added to the canon of German commentaries in English translation ... Throughout the book, readers will find surprising insights and astute observations, as well as thoughtfully developed analyses of characters and scenes. Dr. Washington captures the energy, liveliness and color of Ludwig’s prose ... Between Ludwig’s original thinking and Dr. Washington’s lively evocation of his spirit in her translation, there is much to recommend this book.” – (from the Preface) Professor Frank Nicholas Clary, Saint Michael’s College, Vermont

Table of Contents

Preface by Frank Nicholas Clary

1. Otto Ludwig’s Introduction: My Purpose and Method
2. Shakespeare’s Characters
3. The Scenes
4. Shakespeare’s Composition
5. Shakespeare’s Dramatic Technique
6. Basic Dramatic Problems
7. The Dramatist
8. Histrionic Problems
9. Shakespeare’s Diction
10. Shakespeare’s Art
11. The Outside World

1. Romeo and Juliet
2. Richard II
3. Macbeth. Preparation of the Mood.
4. Hamlet
5. Julius Caesar
6. Merchant of Venice
7. Lear
8. Timon of Athens
9. Richard III
10. Othello
11. On Reading Henry VI
12. Much Ado About Nothing
13. Troilus and Cressida
14. Coriolanus
15. Tiberius Gracchus. Shakespeare’s Characterization


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