But the criticism woke him up from such ecstasies. From time to time she asked him the question of what the mysterious book was like; she became convinced that there existed only in his head, and at last said that it was not to be complained that his book had been an antiquated one, for one had long since passed over him and his Shakspeare crickets. To Tieck’s romantic criticism, daily writers, critical philologists, and literary literary historians wanted to become knights.
That presumption has proved incorrect, and how far the new criticism is right with its claims will prove itself when the critical acts on Shakspeare are closed. Tieck’s view has remained clear until the very end. A few months before his death, when he was sent the necklace of Collier’s Shakspeare from London, which contains the newly discovered emendations, he said: “I can see nothing special in it; the good improvements have been known for a long time, and the new ones are expendable. “Here he agreed with the view of the critic who had subjected him to even the harshest censorship.
It was in the spring of 1823 when a stranger entered his room; a feeble figure, a pale face, destroyed by sorrow and passion. Embarrassed and awkward, he announced with a rumbling voice that he was Grabbe. There could hardly be a greater self-deception on the one hand, and disappointment on the other. Of all the talents which Grabbe had praised, he possessed none, neither voice, nor posture, nor changeability. Everything was based on an imagination that increased his unhappiness. He was less suited for anything than for a public appearance on the Bretern. The pressure of close relations and the stubborn feeling of his strength had given him something stubborn. Some of the readings he insisted on were unfavorable, confirming that he had no vocation for the theater. It also turned out that frequent consumption of alcoholic beverages ruined his health.
In his lawlessness he did not fit in a bourgeois order. He was hard to accommodate; his dramas, which he hoped for, could not be portrayed. At Tieck’s use, however, the directorship of the Dresden theater sought to assist him otherwise. But that could not satisfy him. He was capable of his not to let fancies, and believed misjudged and reset. He had thrown himself into Tieck’s arms, expecting help from him, relief of his condition, and fulfillment of fantastic wishes, in which he saw a recognition of his worth.
He had renounced the immediate literary quarrels with his numerous opponents; the weapons that were being led were too crude. All the more did he feel like attacking the incorrigible philistines with a poetic joke, which has never before had the effect had failed. In the summer of 1801 the plan of a comprehensive comedic comedy was born, in which he thought to pronounce many others what he had on his mind. The fable was borrowed from Ben Jonson’s The devil is an ass. It was the story of a stupid devil who misses, the decrepit hell that, as a result of education, has completely lost its influence, regaining the wiser world, but the test is one of shame and stupidity. He called this seal “anti-Faust”. Since he did not spare himself and his works, it could also be considered to speak freely and openly to others. And he was allowed to introduce the Aristophanes himself, because perhaps his joke had never arisen to this Aristophan power and repartee. Unfortunately, he betrayed the secret too soon. He had told some booksellers about the new poetry, but when they heard that Herder’s letters of humanity were not spared, they were startled and rejected such a dangerous article. He put aside what he had started for better times with distaste and disdain. but the happy mood which it was to accomplish did not return.