“My Prince, I die for you with joy in my heart!“ The tragedy of Hans Hermann Katte in literature
On November 6, 1730, Frederick William I of Prussia put an abrupt end to the boyhood friendship between his son, the later Frederick II, and the Prussian officer Hans Hermann von Katte, when he had the latter beheaded at the Küstin fortress for conspiring with Frederick to flee Prussia for France. The cruel example that the Prussian king made of Katte—he even forced Frederick to watch the execution—has been a frequent subject of later writers. Using texts from Theodor Fontane, Heiner Müller, and Michael Roes, allow for a reconstruction of the representation and appraisal of male friendship from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The talk supplements Kraß’s recent book on male friendship Ein Herz und eine Seele.
Andreas Kraß is a professor of German literature at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Since 2012, he has led the Humboldt University’s research unit The Cultural History of Sexuality and the DFG project Online-Repertorium der mittelalterlichen deutschen Übertragung lateinischer Hymnen und Sequenzen. He has previously served as visiting professor at New York University, King’s College London, and the University of Washington (Seattle). His work focuses on the German literature of the medieval and modern eras, gender, and animal studies. His publications include Geschriebene Kleider: Höfische Identität als literarisches Spiel (2003), and Ein Herz und eine Seele: Zur Geschichte der Männerfreundschaft (2016).