"Laß mich sein, was ich bin": Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld's Performance of a Lifetime

by Wendy Arons
"Laß mich sein, was ich bin": Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld's Performance of a Lifetime
Wendy Arons
The German Quarterly
Start Page: 
End Page: 
Select license: 
Select License


University of Notre Dame

"LaR mich sein, was ich bin": Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld's Performance of a Lifetime

The German actress Karoline Schulze- Kummerfeld wrote two autobiographical manuscripts: "Die Ganze Geschichte meines Lebens," begun toward the end of 1782, and "Die Geschichte meines Theatralischen Le- bens," written in 1793. These two texts, ed- ited and published by Emil Benez6 in 1915 under the title Lebenserinnerungen der Ko- modiantin Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld are a fascinating record of the conditions under which an actress worked and lived in the 18th century, and a rich source of informa- tion about the German theatre.1 In fact, what little scholarship exists on these mem- oirs tends to rely upon them as a means of accessing historical information about the state of the theatre and the working condi- tions of actresses in 18th-century Germargc2 In this article I focus attention away from Schulze-Kummerfeld's writing as historical record and offer instead an interpretive reading of her work. My interest in these memoirs lies in what they can tell us about how women of the 18th century negotiated their subjectivity in the face of a cultural con- struction of womanhood in terms of naYvet6 and naturalness. I argue that notwithstand- ing Schulze-Kummerfeld's alignment of her- self with that image of womanhood and her insistence upon a transparency of self in ac- cordance with her era's culture of sensibility, the history of her life is, ironically, a chronicle of a life she was compelled to perform and a testament to the impossibility of sentimen- tally "being" who she "was."

Recent studies of 18th-century women's autobiography have pointed out that such texts frequently represent complex negotia- tions with hegemonic ideas about gendered subjectivity3 In addition, poststructuralist theory has led to a questioning of the histori- cal and "truth" value of memoirs in general: the very actof representingone's life in words renders that life to some degree fictive, no matter how closely the author approaches historical accuracy. One model of reading autobiographical texts sees the text as a (con- scious, half-conscious, or unconscious) "per- formance" of identity produced and con- toured in response to or reaction against so- cial and discursive pressures toward a fured and "natural" gendered identity? This is, of course, a 20th-century perspective: an century memoir writer like Karoline Schulze- Kummerfeld understood her subjectivity and her writing about that subjectivity quitedifferently. She claims to know herself and the "truth" of her life with a confidence that historical hindsight and current theory find quaint, at best, and suspect, at worst. Yet reading her text as a "performance"against her specific intentions to have it stand as the "truth" of her lifeis particu- larly compelling in the case of Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld because it helps illu- minate the contradictory subject position into which women of the late 18th century were interpellated by the culture of senti- mentality.

One of the fundamental characteristics that served to distinguish bourgeois moral- ity in lBth-century Germany was the rejec- tion of identity as the performance of a role in favor of a sentimental, "anti-theatrical," "authentic" expression of seK5 Where in aristocratic culture of the early modern and

The German Quarterly 76.1 (Winter 2003) 68

baroque periods one'spersona was explicitly conceived and understood as a thing to be performed-as described and prescribed in courtly manuals like Machiavelli's The Prince, Castiglione's The Art of the Courtier, and Gracih's Orhulo manual-bourgeois culture of the late century increasingly began to define identity and subjectivity in terms of the consistency between one's inner being and one's outer display of that inner self. The theatrical subject of the early mod- ern and baroque periodsthe political actor who controlled his performances on the pub- lic stage-yielded (theoretically in any case) to the anti-theatrical subject of the Enlight- enrnent.6

In thinking of 18th-century subjectivity in terms of the extent to which it was not con- ceived of as performed, I draw on Judith But- ler's understanding of gendered subjectivity as constituted by and through performative "acts." Butler argues:

As performance which is performative, gen- der is an "act," broadly construed, which constructs the social fiction of its own psy- chological interiority. [...I I am suggesting that this self is not only irretrievably "outside," constituted in social discourse, but that the ascription of interiority is it- self a publicly regulated and sanctioned form of essence fabrication. (279)

This "ascription of interiority," and the naturalizing of gendered identity as some- thing proceeding organically from a pre- given, biologically determined fixed interi- ority is in many ways the project of century bourgeois discursive productions of the "proper mode of being." Read in this light, the memoirs of an actress like Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld-whose roles included such models of bourgeois femi- nine virtue as Sara in Lessing's Mijl Sara Sampson-provide insight into how wom- en engaged with the notion of gender and identity as performed during a time period in which social pressures against the per- formance of self were highly visible in bourgeois attempts to delineate its cul- ture, mores, values, and modes of being in

opposition to the highly spectacularized

and theatricalized self-performances put

on display by the arist~cracy.~

Because her memoirs are not very well known (and unavailable in English), I begin this analysis with a briefbiography. Karoline Schulze was born into a family of actors in Vienna in 1745.8 She began acting at age 6, and during her childhood her family traveled the German-speaking lands with a number of different theater troupes. By her own ac- count she was a popular and much beloved actress in her teens and twenties. Her youth was marked by a remarkable mobility: by the time she reached the age of 22, she and her family had lived and worked in over 52 cities, sometimes travelingto four or five cit- ies in a single year. In 1767 she married Wil- helm Kummerfeld, a Hamburg banker some 23 years her senior, and reluctantly took her leave from the stage. She chose to marry pri- marily in order to obtain financial security, but unfortunately her marriage was both diEcult and brief: ten years after she mar- ried him Kummerfeld died ("of insanity") and left her in deep debt. Schulze-Kummer- feld returned once again to the stage to make her living, but found that she no longer ap- pealed to her audience, and after nine years of disappointment she left the stage for the final time, moved to Weimar, and opened a sewing school for younggirls. It was there, in 1793, that she put the finishing touches on her memoirs. Schulze-Kurnmerfeld lived for another 30 years in Weimar, where she not only taught young girls but also invented a "Waschwasser" that was still available for purchase at Weimar drugstores as late as 1915.9 But Schulze-Kummerfeld herself had died in impoverished circumstances a cen- tury earlier at the age of 75.

The manuscripts Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld left to posterity in 1782 and 1793 immediately disclose her difficulty in defining the subject of her autobiography. The two manuscripts had two different pur- poses: the first was straightforwardly auto- biographical, while the second set out to re- count the history of her life in the theatre.

On the one hand, Schulze-Kummerfeld seems to have wanted to paint a portrait of her "self" in terms of her personal history and inner life; on the other hand, she also felt the need toleave behind a defense of her act- ing talent in response to her critics, and a de- fense of herself as an actress who had led a virtuous life. lo Towards the end of her mem- oirs, Schulze-Kummerfeld confirms the dou- ble purpose of her autobiographical project:

Ich muljte als Kunstverstandige spre- chen, weil ich mich nicht, wie andere Kunstler in den Werken ihrer Kunst, an- schaulich in meinen Rollen auf die Nach- welt habe machen konnen. Ich habe mich also selbst in diesem Buch dargestellt, so lange, bis der barbarische, wiitende Zahn der Zeit solches zerstort und es der Wurz- und Kasekramer zerreiljt. Ware doch schade um dieses, mein erstes, einziges Kind, zu dem ich so ganz Vater und Mut- ter bin. Habe die Regel nicht einen Au- genblick auljer acht gelassen, da13 Wahr- heit die Pflicht des Geschichtsschreibers sei, und wenn diese fehlt, solch gar nichts wert ist. Hier ist Wahrheit! Die fehlt denn endlich meinem Kinde nicht. Und so hoffe ich getrost, dalj es einigen Wert haben wird (KSK11: 57).

Her reference to these memoirs as both a representation of her self and as her "ein- ziges Kind" attests to her consciousness of the role her writing will perform for her after her death. She envisions it as a testi- mony of how she performed as an artist and lived as a person, and as a substitute for the biological offspring-whom she had been unable to producewho would have otherwise carried on her memory.

Moreover, her insistence here on the "truth" value of her recollections-and this is but one of a series of such statements sprinkled throughout the text-functions not only to (self-)authorize her representa- tion of history, but also aims at persuading her reader that these memoirs provide direct and unmediated access to the "truth" of her subjectiviQ Schulze-Kummerfeld presents her life asthe journey of a coherent and above all

Winter 2003

consistent "self" whose inner and outer con- tours canbe truthfully described, delineated, and contained on the written page. Her at- tempt to reconstruct her "self" in this man- ner corresponds with the bourgeois ideologi- cal demand for a transparency ofbeing. Such a move canbe read as an attempt to fend off suspicions of a theatricalized presentation of self-suspicions which would all too easily attach to her, as a professional actress. Hence, her memoirs insist both upon their own transparency and honesty ("Hier ist Wahrheit!") and upon the consistency and integrity of the life they document.

At the same time, the act of writing her autobiography already implicates Schulze- Kummerfeld in a performance of identity, despite her claims to the "truthfulness" of her account. In fact, the quotation above ac- knowledges that her text is a representation: she explicitly frames it as a substitute per- formance compelled into existence by the ephemeral nature of theatrical performance. Likewise ,her description in the memoirs of repeated attempts tomanipulate how others perceived her raises the suspicion that she was involved in performing herself in her daily life to a greater extent than she seems willing to admit. In other words, both the truth claims of her memoirs and her own claims to subjective integrity and transpar- ency are belied by the necessity to make those claims visible and knowable to her reader and public. That SchulzeKurnmerfeld seems caught in the act of performing an identity she wishes to present as natural and "the truth" is not surprising in light of the fact that, as Nussbaum notes, "18th-century women who represent their subjectivity were [...I caught in mimicking the dominant ideologies of themselves"(l33). Molded by such pressures toward mimicry, Schulze- Kummerfeld's memoirs bear witness to her need to negotiate her status asan outsider within and against dominant bourgeois ide- ology (and within and against its image of "the actress"). Nussbaum observes that for women writing autobiography in the 18th century, "the key to real character is the con- struction of a secret interiority. [...I it be- comes increasingly important for women to produce a private subjectivity that corre- sponds topublic perceptions of character [...I" (152).But for Schulze-Kummerfeld the problem seems reversed. She describes her- self as compelled to produce and perform a public character which corresponds to what she claims is her "real" private interiority.

That interiority seems to meet bourgeois demands for an honesty, consistency, and in- tegrity of character: an "anti-theatricality" conceived in specific opposition to the "the- atricality" of the aristocratic public sphere.ll Two characteristics are central to SchulzeKummerfeld's construction of herself: her absolute honesty and the fact that she cannot do or feel anything halfway Both of these "facts" about her selfsurface throughout the memoirs as fixed and unchanging features of her identity. The first of these embraces both an inability to lie and an essential honesty in her presentation of self. Early on she ex- plains that even as a child "[...] ich war ein eigen Kind [...I Nichts hdte ich mehr als Liigen. Und eben darum, weil ich immer die Wahrheit gestand und nie eine Unart zwei- mal beging, hab' ich nie einen Schlag weder von Vater noch Mutter bekomrnen" (KSK I: 7).In addition, despite the fact that she was a professional actress, she insists that she did notindeed could notrepresent herself falsely in real life. This comes up repeatedly in the course of her memoirs, often as a direct address to her reader:

La Vornehme oder Niedere auftreten, die sagen konnen: ich habe vor ihnen ge- krochen oder geschmeichelt. Wem ich gut war, dem sagte ich's, und wen ich nicht leiden konnte-und da war er wohl im- mer selbst schuld--dem sagte ich gewilj nichts, das ihm hatte schmeicheln kijn- nen. Und wo ich gekonnt, wich ich gewilj aus, um ihm auch nicht einmal eine ge- zwungene Hoflichkeit vorlugen zu mus- sen. (KSK I: 134)

The second key feature of Schulze-Kum- merfeld's "self" as she fashions it in her memoirs is closely related to the first: the fact that she does and feels everything in life ganz. Benez6 writes that Schulze-Kummer- feld

[...] von Kindheit her mit lebendigstem Gefuhl, mit ganzer Seele die Vorgange um sich aufgefaljt, durchdrungen und sich zu eigen gemacht hatte. [...I sie lie13 sich vor allem weder durch Mutter, noch Mann, noch Freunde darin beirren. alles, was sie war, ganz zu sein. Niemand war ihr ver- hater, als ein seelenloser, holzerner, ma- schinenhafter Mensch.(KSK1:xiii)

Schulze-Kummerfeld depicts herself as a person who gave full reign to the expres- sion of her inner passions. She threw her- self wholly into her art and into life, and this was a trait she looked for in others: her highest praise for a person she admired was that they, too, were ganz.

Thus in her characterization of herself Schulze-Kummerfeld demonstrates how she conceived of human subjectivity in general: she sought in herself and in others a full,direct, and true expression of the inner being. Her description of her many close bourgeois friends reflects this expectation and reveals the extent to which she internalized the con- cept of an anti-theatrical subjectivity. Her re- lationships with friends are deeply intimate and involve honesty, forthrightness, and a great deal of sharing of the "inner self."12 An illustrative example here is her close friend- ship with Friederike Giinther-Fleischer. SchulzeKummerfeld rds a reunion with her friend after an 8-year separation, shortly after having been forced to abandon the great love of her life because of class differ- ence (her lover was an aristocrat). She writes:

Das Auge meiner Freundin sah tief in mein Herz. Als ich einmal mit ihr allein war, sprach diese gute Seele zu mir: "Kind, wenn ich Sie auf dem Theater tan- Zen oder eine muntere Rolle spielen sehe, so sind Sie ganz ein anderes Wesen, als bei mir und in der Gesellschaft. Da bei mir denke ich Sie mir nur als eine Sara, Lin- dane, Pamela; alle Ihre Munterkeit ist Zwang. Oft leide ich vie1 mit Ihnen, wenn ich sehe, wie vie1 Gewalt Sie sich antun, es nicht merken und, wenn wir frohlich sind, entgelten zu lassen." (KSKI:168)

Not only can Friederike see that Karoline is putting on a mask of happiness in order to hide her "true feelings," but she also virtually hits the nail on the head by com- paring her to romantic heroines like Sara and Pamela-she sees that young Karo- line's suffering results from a doomed ro- mance.13 In response to Friederike's offer of help, Schulze-Kummerfeld reports:

Ich schuttete diese Herz ganz in den treu- en Busen meiner Freundin. Sie teilte mei- nen Schmerz mit dem ihrigen; und ihrer zartlichen Sorgfalt, ihren eifrigen Bemu- hungen hatte ich meine Ruhe zu verdan- ken. (KSKI: 169)

While such a scene plainly depicts the transparent and open nature Schulze-Kum- merfeld wishes to claim for herself in her memoirs, what is remarkable about this inci- dent is how rare it is. Despite her repeated claims about her own honesty, consistency, integrity, and openness, this is one of the few places in her memoirs where Schulze-Kum- merfeld depicts herselfas having unreserv- edly shared her inner self without regard to how she might be perceived by her audience. Although it is clear from Schulze-Kummer- feld's memoirs that she conceives of her "self" in anti-theatrical terms-she does not lie about her feelings or thoughts; she pres- ents herself honestly to the world; and what she feels or thinks, she expresses wholly- she also seems continuously aware of the presence of dasPublikum, both as observer of her life actions at the time they occurred and asreader of her memoirs.14 This duality is vividly illustrated in her description of her introduction to Hamburg society:

Nun fiihrte mir H. Ackermann einige Hamburger zu und wollte mit ihnen bekannt machen. Aber alle bekamen van mir sehr kurzen Bescheid; denn ich konn- te mir nicht helfen, nicht Empfindungen lugen, und alle hatten das Gluck oder Un- gluck, wie man's nehmen wollte, mir von

Herzen zu mil3fallen. (KSKI: 193)15

While her refusal to be politic with the citi- zens of Hamburg can be interpreted as an extreme manifestation of the bourgeois imperatives of honesty, sincerity, authen- ticity, and transparency, at the same time she is fully aware of the performative ef- fects of her refusal to perform, of the ex- tent to which her feelings-as manifested in her behavior-will be interpreted and read by the Publikum to which it is di- rected.

In the context of her memoirs Schulze- Kurnrnerfeld's cognizance of this performa- tive dimension of her identity paradoxically calls attention to the constructedness of this "self" which she desires to present to her reader as"the truth." While on the one hand, Schulze-Kummerfeld is interested in "de- claring a 'self' that matches hegemonic ideol- ogies about the individual in culture," on the other hand, her memoirs reveal the impossi- bility of such a project, for the life she relates is one that, in her "honest" appraisal and recollection of it, had tobe perpetually per- formed (Nussbaum 6). Schulze-Kummerfeld demonstrates repeatedly that she knew precisely how she wanted herself to be seen in the public eye at all times in her life and made every effort to ensure she succeeded. As a result, these memoirs destabilize the illusion that they present the "truth" of her subjectivity; at the same time, they serve asboth record and instance of the contradic- tions she faced in "being" the woman she be- lieved (or imagined) herself to be.

Schulze-Kummerfeld's alertness to the performative dimension of her "self" and her skill in manipulating it derive in large part from the fact that she led an extraordi- narily public existence for a woman of her day. As she recounts it, everything she does,

every she makes, visit she receives is scrutinized and judged by her pub- lic, and she is constantly aware of and on guard against anything that might open her to criticism or taint her reputation. For ex- ample, she points to the particular chal- lenges of visiting university towns (where there were a lot of single young men):

Wer weil3, was das sagen will, zu spielen auf einer Universitat, wie die, die in Got- tingen war, wo in so langer Zeit nicht ge- spielt worden [...I wird wissen, dal3 Ver- stand und Talent erfordert wird, seine Rolle zu spielen so gut auf dem Theater als von demselben, und lieber einem Ta- del als Schauspielerin sich untenverfen, als dem einer guten Biirgerin. (KSK I: 183)

The passage goes on to describe the strate- gies she employed to maintain her reputa- tion, includingalways walking in the com- pany of her brother and refusing to accept visitors. Examples like this show that at times she felt quite keenly the necessity of consciously playing and policing her "self" as a means of countering popular expecta- tions. Moreover, she also recognized that such policing risked sacrificing the acclaim due to her as an actress (the implication being that by withholding her attention from her admirers she risked alienating them from her onstage performances).16 In other words, Schulze-Kummerfeld found herself compelled to perform her "self" in such a way as to maintain a delicate bal- ance between her "self" as commodity (as alluring stage presence) and the "self" she claimed as her interiority (as virtuous woman).

Unlike Rousseau's idealized imagined Woman, who had no place in the public sphere, and hence no (morally justifiable) reason to put her virtue on theatrical display, Schulze-Kummerfeld's status as an actress put her in the awkward position of having to do precisely what the virtuous woman was not supposed to have to do: to perform that innocence and naivete which was not sup- posed to beperformable.17 This required keen self-observation and a savvy knowledge of how her behavior and actions in both the public and private realm might be interpre- ted by her Publikum-the very antithesis of the ndivet6 she wished to project. But in Schulze-Kummerfeld's memoirs that mobi- lization of performance comes across as a justifiableand wholly sincereattempt not to deceive her public, but to ensure that the image of herself proliferating in the pub- lic arena honestly matched who she felt she was. From Schulze-Kummerfeld's point of view, the problem was not that she might produce a performance of subjectivity that did not match her inner feelings and mo- tives, but rather that she was in constant danger of having her actions misread by a public eager to attribute to her all of the vices associated with the actress. As a result, one of the major objectives of these memoirs is to recuperate the actress as a virtuous woman and to recast the public woman as one who struggles not to remain virtuous, but rather to maintain her reputation as a virtuous woman without making visible the effort and craft this requires.18 In other words, Schulze- Kummerfeld's memoirs document her ongo- ing effort--culminating in the memoirs themselves-to produce a performance of Virtuous Womanhood which erased all signs of its own performative dimension.

In light of this, one of the most intriguing aspects of Schulze-Kummerfeld's memoirs is the way her (re)construction of her life is mediated by a consciousness of both her po- sition as an actress and all the associations the century brought to bear on that pro- fession. Her memoirs both exploit and un- dermine bourgeois assumptions about the actress's life, moralits: virtue, and art. The text is marked, on the one hand, by a power- ful description of the hard work and sacri- fices involved in her profession, and on the other hand, by highly romanticized, perhaps even fictionalized, accounts of a glamorous, independent, and heady existence. Her self- representation hovers at the intersection of her desire to respond to publicly circulating images of the actress's life (as depicted in novels and newspapers), the reality of her life as she remembers it, her recollections of her own deliberate performance of that life, and the imperatives of the current perfor- mancethe memoirs themselves-to leave behind a positive (and perhaps nostalgically distorted) image of that life.

Schulze-Kummerfeld vividly depicts the extreme hardship of the actress's life. She worked incredibly hard for very low wages, and was constantly on the edge of fmancial ruin. Audiences had a huge appetite for novelty, and as a result performers were re- quired to learn an astonishing number of new roles each year. Schulze-Kummerfeld relates with a mixture of pride and complaint that in the year 1783 the Linz company put on two hundred performances. "Hundert- zwanzigmal habe ich mitgespielt, ohne die Ballette. Ich hatte 63 Rollen, und neu ein- studiert 39" (KSK 11: l2l).l9 She was re- quired not only to act, but also to sing and dance, and she describes several occasions in which she was forced to dance with an injury or perform while extremely ill (KSK I: 171; I: 210). Women with children faced additional d8iculties in their careers: Schulze-Kummerfeld relates that her mother was required to perform the evening after her infant died and that another actress had to dance in the late stages of pregnancy (KSK I:25; I: 208). In addition, she was constantly in transit, ex- posed not only to the dangers of the weather and poor road conditions, but also to preda- tory men (KSK I: 91). The stress of constant work and travel and the lack of a stable home or finances took a toll on her physical and mental health, and her memoirs foreground the extent to which the labor of acting and the lifestyle associated with it were a drain on the ~pirit.~O

From a very young age Schulze-Kum- merfeld understood all too well both the stereotypes under which she labored as an actress and the pressures threatening her virtue and reputation. The image of the pro- miscuous actress prevailed throughout the century, and audiences frequently made a connection between an actress's on-stage performance and her off-stage virtue, and vice versa.21 There were, of course, enough actresses filling the stereotype to lend it weight, and Schulze-Kurnrnerfeld even gives anecdotal evidence of an actress in her own troupe whose illicit affair not only tainted the company's reputation but also engen- dered a boycott from their audience. Although like many other young actresses of her era (including Charlotte and Dorothea Ackermann) Schulze-Kummerfeld (claims she) adhered to strict moral standards, she was sympathetic to how hard it was for an ac- tress to resist temptation because of her ex- tensive exposure topassion and love on stage. Contrary to popular opinion, she maintains

da13 kein Frauenzimmer in der Welt mehr Verdienst hat, wenn es ganz tugendhaft bleibt, wie ein Frauenzimmer bei dem Theater. Noch ehe es einen Unterschied weil3, ob auDer ihrem auch ein anderes Geschlecht ist, lehrt man es die Liebe, schwatzt solchem die SiiBigkeiten vor (KSK I:60).

Because of such widely held prejudices against actresses, Schulze-Kummerfeld was extremely vulnerable to the public's view of her and had to be constantly on guard against even the faintest appearance of im- propriety on her part. Not only did she have to take care to preserve her own virtue and morality, she was also held responsible for that of her fans. A recurring theme in her narrative is her need to forestall potential criticism directed against her for the ex- treme and romantic behavior of male fans who become infatuated with her. One young man ran away from home out of infatuation for her; two others attempted suicide (!)-in all three cases Schulze-Kummerfeld de- scribes herself as hard pressed to defend hervirtue, even though she (claims she) did nothing to encourage the attentions of these fans. One of these cases is also noteworthy because of the way Schulze-Kummerfeld re- members respondingto it, and is worth spell- ing out at length (KSK I: 201-07). A friend of her brother's in Hamburg, a man named Soltau, falls in love with her and makes pub- lic that he is planning to convert to Catholicism (her faith). Instantly understanding that the public will blame her for this and claim that she had "seduced" him, Karoline forbids Soltau entrance into her house. Sol- tau tries to drown himself, and Karoline is immediately the subject of scandal-rumor spreads that she had even been correspond- ing with Soltau in a secret code. Instead of quietly allowing the scandal to run its course, however, Karoline writes a testimony which she has read aloud and archived in the City Council. Her statement reads, in part:

Noch bin ich imstande, mich auf eine

muhsame, doch tugendhafte Art zu er-

nahren. Keine Fluche ruhen auf den Mei-

nigen, in mir selbst glucklich bringe ich

meine Tage zu. Und sollte ich diese Gluck-

seligkeit um einen jungen Menschen ha-

ben verscherzen wollen? Ich, die auf der

Biihne die Tugend lobt, das Laster straft,

ich selbst sollte anders denken, als ich die

Menschen lehren will? Verwiinscht sei uon

rnir der Gedanke, die Verfiihrerin eines

jungen Menschen zu sein. (KSK I: 207,

emphasis mine)

Because she is an actress, and because she is daily on public display, the only way to "be" the moral woman that she claims she "is" is to publicize her morality and make visible and knowable, to the public, that she is a virtuous woman. That she has this statement recorded in the city hall marks the extent to which she felt her reputation threatened. But even more interesting here is the way that she calls upon her pro- fession to defend her: in response to the public's stereotyping her as an immoral actress, she maintains that as an actress she considers it her moral duty to be what she portrays, to live up to the image she projects from the stage.

Ironically, however, publicizing her mo- rality and virtue opened her to a very differ- ent challenge to her public reputation. While still with the Ackennann troupe in Ham- burg, Karoline privately received a copy of a poem written in praise of her by Daniel Schiebeler, in which he named her a "priest- ess of virtue" and claimed that she was "per- fect reality" (KSK I: 197). Embarrassed by the flattery, she tried to have it suppressed, because "man mijchte denken, ich bildete mir was darauf ein, machte mich eitel oder stolz" (KSKI: 196). But despite her wishes, the poem was eventually published, and in retaliation for what they felt was exagger- ated praise her rivals mounted a vitriolic at- tack on her which eventually drove her out of Hamb~rg.~~

In this case, Schulze-Kurnmer- feld demonstrates that even as a young woman she possessed a profound sensitivity to the myriad ways in which her conduct and being could be (mislinterpreted in the public arena: she understood that praise could be as damaging to her public image as criticism, especially when the image she wanted to put forward was of her essential modesty: "Doch was half mir meine Bescheidenheit, die, so wahr Gott Gott ist, nicht erkiinstelt war? Diese Ode gab zu dem bittersten Verd. Anlal3" (KSK I: 197). Despit-r perhaps because of-her commitment to bourgeois notions of virtuous femininity, Schulze- Kummerfeld reveals here that she was any- thing but naive: she shows all too clear a knowledge of how she appeared to others and how her appearance could be manipu- lated to create an impression contrary to what she believed was her "true" self

But these descriptions of her troubles with her fans also have another function within the memoirs: they create and confii the image of the young Karoline as an attractive and alluring celebrity Thus, while her mem- oirs work to counter the stereotype of the ac- tress by giving the lie to the image of carefree pleasure and loose morals among actors in fiction, they also exploit those fictional ste- reotypes by calling attention to the many so- cial and emotional benefits of the profession. Fictional accounts of actresses during the period tended to ignore the physical condi- tions of labor in favor of looking at the advan- tages which accrued to actresses: that is, their independence and freedom to lead a glamorous and exciting life off the stage. In his detailed comparison of Schulze-Kum- merfeld's memoirs to Goethe's portrait of the actress in Wilhelm Meister, Walter Wet- zels points out how starkly such fictions clashed with reality, particularly in Goethe's glamorization of the work involved in per- forming on a daily basis. Yet while Wetzels rightly points out that Schulze-Kumrnerfeld found life as an actress extremely difficult, and that her "Lieblingsprojekt" was "ganz ein ruhiges Leben, fern vom Theater zu ftihren [...I" (KSKII:121) heneglects tonotethe extent to which Schulze-Kurnmerfeld's memoirs also corroborate the image of the actress's life as a whirlwind of romance and adventure.

Schulze-Kurnmerfeld narrates a young adulthood filled with parties, love affairs, and encounters with the rich and famous. Be- cause of her status as a performer, she was frequently on the guest list to glittering all- night balls thrown by the local aristocracy, and she counts among her "friends" the Duchess of Weimar and the Margravine of Karlsruhe. On several occasions she is liter- ally the center of public attention. Her de- scription of her last appearance on the hip- zig stage before her marriage strikingly evokes both the extreme publicity of her pri- vate life and the extent to which her profes- sion connected her emotionally and psycho- logically with the public and with the bour- geois social sphere. For her finale she danced a ballet with her brother Karl. The house was packed.

Als ich mit meinem Bruder im Finale das Minor fast zum SchluS hatte, blieb ich stehen und wies durch Pantomime, da13 ich nun aufhijrte, mit ihm zu tanzen. Mein Bruder driickte seinen Verlust aus durch eine wehmiitige Stellung. Ich trat nun vor, neigte mich gegen das Parterre, alle Lo- gen und die Galerie. Mein Blick sagte, was ich fiihlte, Tranen, die mit Macht aus mei- nen Augen stiirtzten, mehr, weit mehr, als Worte hatten sagen konnen [...I . Mein Bruder, als ich den stummen Abschied ge- nommen hatte, stand wie auljer sich da, fie1 mir um den Hals und kiiljte mich. Al- les weinte laut, nicht ein Auge im ganzen Schauspielhaus war trocken. Man schrie, man schlug in die Hande und rief: 'Vivat, lebe wohl, lebe gliicklich, sei Dank! Dank dir!' Ein solcher Abschied, wie dieser, war wohl nie erlebt worden -. (KSK I: 281)

It is remarkable that what in many ways was a very private decision and private loss -her decision to give up the theater and get married-becomes the occasion for a public performance of emotion in which her authentic feelings of loss and regret, mediated through pantomime and dance, are read and intepreted by the audience, and intended to be read and interpreted by the reader ofthe memoirs, as an authentic, unmediated expression of her state of be- ing. Although Schulze-Kummerfeld is de- scribing a performance here, it is evident that that performance is meant to stand in for and transparently convey how she "re- ally felt." Where in other places in this memoir she intimates that she consciously performed her self for her public, here she presents the performance as having an al- most involuntary, natural quality. And yet the melodrama in her description is ines- capable: the romanticization of this event cannot help but raise the suspicion that what she has recast as a natural, organic upwelling of emotion in herself and in the audience might have its roots in the world of fiction.

Such a glamorized, nostalgic revision of her life as an actress (if it is one) may be at- tributable to the fact that the &st version of her memoirsthe one containing details about her daily lifewas written shortly after her husband's death, and it is possible that in (re)constructing her life on paper she attempted to recapture the heady existence she had sacrificed to the tedium of marriage. Yet here and elsewhere in her autobiography there seems to be a half-conscious fictional borrowing from literature and drama which performs an important function in her self- representation: namely, it serves the purpose of locating her "self" within a discursive pro- duction of ideal womanhood. We see thismost vividly illustrated in her narration of a love affair she had when she was just a child of twelve. She claims to have been pursued by a young soldier named Count Nostitz, who pleaded with her in secret love letters to run off with him. Although she was at the time too young to have any knowledge of sex or marriage, she nevertheless insisted that they be married. He finally agreed to many her, but in secret, because he could not let the marriagebecome public until &r his mother had died. Schulze-Kummerfeld recalls that she was on the verge ofjoininghim for the se- cret ceremony when, one night, tossing and turning in bed, it occurred to her that the cer- emony could be a sham. She tells us that she imagined:

Hast du schon jemals eine Trauung mit angesehen? Nein! Sollte von einem luthe- rischen Geistlichen getraut werden, von keinem katholischen? Kennst du den? [...I Mein Gott, wenn ein verkleideter Be- dienter, du kennst nicht alle von des Gra- fen Leuten, -du warst statt Frau, Mai- tresse des Grafen. (KSK I: 71)

This thought, she claims, jolted her into reality, and the moment she arose the next morning she sent word to the Count that she would not elope with him.

Two things are remarkable about this early affair. Erst, the scene she recalls hav- ing imagined to herself is virtually identical to the sham marriage depicted in Sophie von La Roche's 1771 novel Die Geschichte des Frauleins von Sternheim, which appeared a decade before Schulze-Kummerfeld began writing her mem0irs.~3 The similarity be- tween the two scenes points to the ways Schulze-Kummerfeld's self-representation is mediated by popular fictional representations of female virtue under attack, and raises the question of the extent to which, in this final performance, Schulze-Kummerfeld has ret- roactively cast herself as a Pamela or a So- phie. Such a movewhether conscious or not-would be consistent with her evident desire, throughout the memoirs, to align and identlfy herself with images of virtuous bourgeois womanhood and contradict the stereotype of the actress as a loose woman. The depiction of such a glamorous, tormen- ted relationship thus gestures to her inter- nalization of and accommodation to bour- geois expectations of the virtuous woman while at the same time highlighting the ex- treme and precarious circumstances under which she struggled to maintain her virl~e.~4

But second, and even more crucially, her narration of this romantic adventure dem- onstrates that, as an actress, her life and her understanding of herself were profoundly different from that of the imagined domestic bourgeois woman who was both subject and object of the sentimental fiction from which her memoirs seem to draw. What is truly re- markableisthat Schulze-Kummerfeld claims to have been able to imagine to herself, as a very young girl, the act of dissimulation that the sham marriage would involve, and she claims that her ability to recognize that real- ity could be performed in such a way saved her. What sets her apart from the Sophies and Clarissas of the world of romance fiction is her astute awareness of "performancen- conceived of in the 18th century as dissimula- tion and deception-both on and off the stage.

Putting aside the issue of whether or not Schulze-Kummerfeld actually had this epi- phanic revelation about the marriage, what is relevant here is her depiction of herself as one who simultaneously embraced the idea of an anti-theatrical subjectivity for herself -in her understanding of herself as "hon- est" and "ganzn-and rejected it as a reliable means of ensuring the proper interpretation of that selfby her own audience and of decod- ing and reading the behavior of 0thers.~5 In many ways, Schulze-Kummerfeld seems to occupy a complex and paradoxical position vis-a-vis the demands for an honest repre- sentation of self, and this position can be linked to her understanding of the art of act- ing. Schulze-Kummerfeld belonged to a gen- eration of players who practiced what was referred to as the "French mannered" style of acting, in which no attempt was made to create the illusion that the performer was not performing. Schulze-Kummerfeld con- ceived of performanceboth on and off the stagein terms of image and effect, and in her off-stage performances she was equally concerned with creating an image that prop- erly expressed her inner self.26 In her mem- oirs she does not seem to conceive of the out- ward self as a naturally homologous out- growth or expression of her inner life, but rather as an image that must be produced. This is clearly in opposition to the ideological construction of ideal womanhood in terms of anti-theatricality, naivete and transparent, natural virtuousness. But the ideal, imagined woman was not only supposed to be naive, she was also expected to remain within the private sphere; in fad, according to theorists like Rousseau, a woman undermined any claims to naive6which was her "natural stateu-the moment she stepped into the public arena.27 Schulze-Kummerfeld's sta- tus as a public woman, as an actress, cata- pults her into the middle of the contradiction such a demand posed for women. On the one hand her memoirs document a deep inner subjectivity and a real concern for consis- tency and integrity of self along the anti-the- atrical model. Yet on the other hand she is obsessively concerned with managing and manipulating her appearance and reputa- tion in public, because it is not sufficient for her, as a woman and as an actress, to merely be virtuous; she must also put her "self" on display and perform it in such a way that there can be no mistake about who she is. At the same time, the publicity of her life, and the fact that she practiced deception profes- sionallx rendered her suspect to the very ac- cusations of theatricality and perfonnativity which she labored so strenuously to forestall.

Up to this point I have focused on Schulze-Kummerfeld's (actual and textual) performance of her life as an actress and her struggle to align herself with bourgeois val- ues from the position of a public woman. But a large section of her memoirs documents her experience of bourgeois domestic life from within, during the ten-year period of her marriage to Wilhelm Kurnmerfeld. Although space does not permit me to go into great detail about her marriage, a brief dis- cussion of Schulze-Kummerfeld's description of herself as a married woman willhelp to highlight the profound disjuncture between

Winter 2003

the discursive construdions of bourgeois feminine identity which Schulze-Kummer- feld seems to have taken as her model and her lived (or recollected) experience of trying to conform to that For where as an actress Schulze-Kummerfeld represents her- selfasa confident woman who knew who she was, the language she uses to represent her marriage intimates that she experienced it as an annihilation of identity. Although her marriage brought her the legitimacy and financial security she had yearned for all her life, the price she paid for theseher free- dom, independence, mobility, and selfknowledgeappears steep. In sharp con- trast to the "self" that emerges in the fist part of her memoirs, the portrait of the mar- ried woman is marked primarily by an in- ability to define who she was as a bourgeois wife.

This shift appears assoon as she begins to recount her entrance into bourgeois domes- ticity. On her wedding day, the Kumrnerfeld family is openly hostile towards her, and she is left alone at her own wedding reception while her new husband goes off to play cards. After the wedding party, as she rides silently home in the coach with Wilhelm, he asks her why she is so quiet. She replies,

Wasich bin, weiJ3 ich selbst nicht. Ist's wirk- lich so, oder ist's ein Irrtum? Bin ich heute wirklich verheiratet worden oder spiele ich nur eine Komodie? Gott weil3 es, ich nicht, wie mir ist. (KSK1I:ll; emphasis mine)

This is a remarkable moment in the text. Throughout her memoirs Schulze-Kum- merfeld insists on the strength of her own sense of self, of knowing who she is and was and of having been "ganz" what she was at all times. Shortly before her mar- riage to Kummerfeld she repeats what is virtually her mantra: that she has always been "ganz Tochter, ganz Schwester, ganz Freundin, ganz Liebhaberin und miisse ganz Gattin werden konnen" (KSK11: 5). But her marriage clearly threw her into doubt about her identity, and for the first time in these memoirs she uses a theatri- cal metaphor to describe her "real lifew- marriage makes her wonder if her life has just become nothing but a performance.

This is a tellingindication of the extent to which the role of wife appeared to her as a roleas something apart and separate from herself, as something she could never com- pletely "be."Countering the notion that rnarried bourgeois domesticity was the "natural" role for the 18th-century woman, Schulze- Kummerfeld shows us that for a woman like herself, who possessed a sense of identity and independence, marriage was an institution that involved an erasure of one's "true self."29 Her memoirs vividly convey the isola- tion and bewilderment she felt in her new existence. She depicts herself as completely dependent on her husband for praise, kind- ness, flattery, in short, for her sense of self- worth, and he changes almost overnight from an enchanted lover into a bored hus- band. He falls asleep when she reads love poems to him, he is irritatedwhen she is atten- tive to his needs, he stops holding her coat and helping her into the coach, and he snaps at her for meeting him at the door. Baffled by his lack of esteem for her, she seems unable to find herself outside his opinion:

Ein Madchen, wie ich war, gesund, so au- fierst propper [sic] bis zur Uebertreibung, wie es oft meine Mutter nannte. Was ist ihm, was hat er gegen dich? Meine Ju- gend, mein warmes Blut! Das Gefiihl, so uns die Natur gab, es forderte Gerechtig- keit. Wie oft weinte ich ganze Nachte durch! [...I Ihn fragen? Mich beklagen? Nein, das konnte ich nicht. Ist's wirklich Abneigung, ist 's Abneigung? (KSK11: 14)

Interestingly, here again we see Schulze- Kummerfeld allude to a fictive representa- tion of "ideal womanhoodn-yet in this in- stance it not only buttresses her own claims to bourgeois respectability but also at the same time complicates the relationship be- tween dominant discursive productions of "femininity" and her own experience of her "proper role." Her reference above to "Meine Jugend, mein warrnes Blut!" is a direct and recognizable allusion to the penultimate

scene of Lessing's Emilia Galotti, in which Emilia begs her father for death rather than be handed over to a man who will compromise her virtue.30 In the play, Emilia's words, "Ich habe Blut, mein Vater; so jugendliches, so warmes Blut als eine" simultaneously point to her own sensuality-to the "natu- ral" passions and desires she must control and police in order to remain virtuous-and imply that such sensuality comprises wom- an's natural weakness. Emilia uses this "weakness" to justify her desire for death, arguing that she fears she will be unable to withstand the seductions of Grimaldi's "Haus der F'reude" W7). Like Sara Samp- son, Emilia is better off dead than compro- mised.Schulze-Kummerfeld's allusion to this famous scene indicates her desire to identlfy herself with this bourgeois heroine, but the context in which she uses it is highly ironic: unlike her role model Emilia, Schulze-Kum- merfeld implicitly mourns the loss of that natural, passionate nature which has disap- peared with marriage, and thereby under- scores both her previous sense of identity and the fact that she equates her sacrifice with that of Emilia. In other words, for Schulze-Kummerfeld, marriage itself is a kind of death. Gone from her writing is the vivacious, self-assured, assertive young woman of her acting days. Marriage turns her into a wretched recluse, driven to decep- tion to keep up appearances. For the only time in her memoirs she admits to deceiving her friends: when shewrites to them, Benez6 glosses, she pretends to be happy and ''fhgt verraterische Trben mit dem Schnupftuch auf, da13 sie nicht aufs Papier fallen" (KSKII: 14). Tellingly, it is in her "natural role" as a wife that Schulze-Kummerfeld feels driven to produce what she claims are her only false representations of self.

That she experienced marriage asanerasure of her identity is also evidenced by the way her retroactive description of herself shifts when she describes moments of escape from the confines of domesticity. In her ten years of marriage she managed precisely two journeys outside Hamburg: a one-month trip to Weimar with her husband in 1773, and a brief trip to Leipzig alone in the spring of

1776. In both instances she represents the journey out of Hamburg as a return to her old "self." For example, on the trip to Weirnar she becomes suddenly quite active again in her own life, taking charge of the finances, itinerary, and routing of the trip, while the provincial Kummerfeld-who had never been further from Hamburg than Liibeck- seems merely along for the ride. As further evidence that traveling has revived the inde- pendent woman who knew "who she was," her old mantra suddenly reappears after be- ing absent for several pages (and years) of narrative. When, just outside Weimar, Wil- helm anxiously reproves her for being too

excited about the imminent arrival of her brother, Karoline replies,

0 la13 mich, Lieber! La13 mich sein, was ich bin. Alles ganz. Was sind die Mitteldinger, die nichts fuhlen konnen, fur erbarmliche Menschen! (KSK11: 29)

Although Schulze-Kummerfeld finds such people pitifid, her repeated referral to a loss of self-and the necessity to perform a false self-within her marriage gives the stark impression that in her role aswife she, too,had become one of the "Mitteldinger, die nichts fiihlen konnen." There are only two instances in her memoirs where she deploys theatrical metaphors to speak of her life, and these virtually bracket the narration of her marriage. The fist instance has already been mentioned. The second comes as she relates her discovery that her husband's in- sanity had led him to lend or give away his fortune. Had she known about his foolish lending, she claims, she would have played a different role as wife. Elidmg Schulze-Kum- merfeld's text, Benez6 paraphrases:

Mit ihrer Sparsamkeit erleichterte sie ihm seine wahnsinnige Generositat. Hat- te sie uber das alles Bescheid gewuot, so hatte sie mit verschwenden wollen. Dann wiire Kummerfeld eher zur Vernunft ge- kommen und ware vielleicht gesund ge- blieben. Sie hatte die Rolle der Frau von Ehrlichsdorf in der Komodie "Der Ver- schwender" gespielt. (KSK11: 43)

Although there is nothing unusual about the fact that Schulze-Kummerfeld wishes that she had acted differently during her marriage, the way in which she conceives it is noteworthy in the context of this study: had she "played" her marriage out of a comic script it might not have had the tragic ending it did. The theatrical meta- phors Schulze-Kummerfeld mobilizes only in the context of her married life suggest that for at least one real woman of the 18th century the privatized domesticity which was imagined to be the woman's "natural" state was not only nothing but a role to play, it was the only role in which she was literally required to lose herself in order to succeed.

In these memoirethe "performance of her lifetimen-Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld brings into relief the contradictory sub- ject position into which real women were in- terpellated by the ideology of a virtuous, na- ive, antitheatrical femininity As a public woman and an actress, Schulze-Kummer- feld reveals herself as always already sus- pect, and demonstrates that she was con- strained both to produce the naivete and virtue which she claimed was her "real" inner state and to police and manage the circula- tion and reception of the performances she produced in the public sphere. Ths puts her in the barely tenable position of having to perform the unperformable: to play the role of virtuous femininity which was, by defini- tion, not a role that could be consciously, de- liberately "played." Yet paradoxically it is in the context of her "natural" role as a bour- geois wife that Schulze-Kummerfeld's de- scription of her life reveals the impossibility of her understanding of herself in terms of ''la13 mich sein, was ich bin." She "is" nothing outside of her own self-fashioning, as her own sense of annihilation within the mar- riage reveals. Schulze-Kummerfeld's mem- oirs intimate, above all,the impossibility for the virtuous woman merely to "be." It is only in the public performance of her identity- on the street, on the stage, and, finally, in the pages of these memoirsthat Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld could lay claim to and define "was ich bin."


lThe first ("Hamburg") manuscript is cur- rently housed at the Staats- und Universitats- bibliothek Hamburg; the second ("Weimar") manuscript is at the Thuringisches Haup- staatsarchiv Weimar. Schulze-Kummerfeld's original manuscripts are difficult both to access and to read: Niethammer, who has studied both manuscripts, writes that' although no authen- tic published version of Schulze-Kummerfeld's text exists. Beneze's edition-which elides and glosses sections of the memoirs-is reliable and fairly complete (147). There is also a more re- cent edition of these manuscripts edited by Buck (Ein fahrendes Frauenzimmer) which in- cludes even less material than Beneze. For a detailed description of the current state of Schulze-Kummerfeld's manuscripts and a sum- mary of material left out of the Beneze edition, see Niethammer, 147-52, esp. note 140 on 149. Emde also discusses the "Weimar" manuscript in "Manuskripte und Memoiren von Schau- spielerinnen des 18. Jahrhunderts" (191, n. 32). I have not had the privilege of consulting the original manuscripts: in this article all ref- erences are to Beneze's edition and hereafter cited as KSK.

2There are some recent notable exceptions: in her introduction to Ein fahrendes Frauenzim- mer Buck argues that Schulze-Kummerfeld's memoirs reveal a woman who was continually "on the move" and in search for the "historical recognition which was her due" (26). Although Buck shares my interest in the issues of repre- sentation and performance that the text raises, she maintains that Schulze-Kummerfeld was not attemptingto articulate her subjectivity ac- cording to the sentimental model. See also Buck, "Zur Situation." Emde is also deeply con- cerned with the issue of actresses' self-repre- sentation as a form of performance and deals very briefly (and somewhat problematically) with Schulze-Kummerfeld's production of her own subjectivity in Schauspielerinnen im Europa 15-25 and 331-36. For a critique of Emde's methodological strategy, see Daniel. Gutjahr offers an interpretive analysis along lines similar to my own interests, reading Schulze-Kummerfeld's memoirs in terms of the actress's desire for acceptance into bourgeois society. Finally, Niethammer looks at the way in which Schulze-Kummerfeld's memoirs re- flect the shift from Enlightenment to bourgeois ideas, and in particular Schulze-Kummerfeld's movement away from claims to equality and to- wards an internalization of the bourgeois gen- der hierarchy (153). Scholars who have drawn on these memoirs for evidence in writing the history of German theatre and acting include Devrient, Fleig, Kord, Laube, Litzmann, Mau- rer-Schmoock and Schwanbeck. In addition, Wetzels mines these memoirs for evidence of the reality of an actress's life and compares that reality to Goethe's fictional depiction of the actress in Wilhelm Meister. Beneze also provides a lengthy introduction to his edition of the memoirs, and in Schauspielerinnen Geit- ner reprints excerpts from Schulze-Kummer- feld's memoirs with a brief critical commen- tary. Contemporary critical responses to and assessments of her performances on stage can be found in Schutze and Jacobs, and her perfor- mances are also remarked upon by Lessing

XXIX: 248-53; XX: 50-53; and Goethe 11: 206;

XII: 606-08; XXIII: 531.

3Cf. Emde, Shauspielerinnen im Europa; Gil- more; Goodman; Molloy; Niethammer; Nuss- baum; and Spacks.

4Cf. Wanko 75-76.

5Although the bourgeois class which devel- oped and rose to social and economic power in Germany during the 18th century was in many ways specifically a "class" with (economic, po- litical, and social) interests that set it apart from both the aristocracy above it and the peas- ant class below it, in my use of the term "bour- geois" in this article, I follow the lead of Engel- brecht, who in 1777 saw several levels of society included under the rubric of "bourgeois" as long as they shared its moral values: "Der Adel, der Gelehrte, der Kaufmann, kurz, ein jeder, der Gelegenheit gehabt hat, sein Herz zu verbessern oder seinen Verstand aufzuklaren, gehort zu demjenigen Stand, der hier unter der Benennung des burgerlichen begriffen ist" (137). Many 20th-century scholars agree that as difficult as "bourgeois" is to define on the basis of class or economics, what tended to unite those who considered themselves bourgeois was a shared opposition to other groups (most notably, the aristocracy) and shared interests, values, mores, and lifestyles. For historicaliso- ciological analysis of the German bourgeoisie along these lines see Kocka; Lepsius; Bausin- ger; Nipperdey; Blackbourn; and Kaschuba.

For a discussion of the bourgeois conception of subjectivity as "authentic" and "transpar- ent" (as opposed to performed) see Geitner, Die Sprache der Verstellung. Mucke also delin- eates the sentimental subject in terms of trans- parency, and links the genre of the epistolary novel to the construction of that subject.

Buck observes that Schulze-Kummerfeld not only identified with the character of Sara but gained, in her playingof that role, a recognition that was denied her in everyday life ("Zur Situ- ation" 319). Kord gives a nuanced reading of the "model" of femininity provided by Lessing in this play in "Tugend im Rampenlicht" esp. 3-8.

8In order to maintain a distinction between the author of the memoirs and the subject con- structed within the memoirs, I have adopted the convention of referring to the former as "Schulze-Kummerfeld" and the latter as "Karoline." Although it is admittedly problem- atic to refer to a historical figure by her first name, this convention is intended to put em- phasis on the fact that "Karoline" is a con- structed identity who may or may not be identi- cal with the historical figure who constructed her; in addition, using her first name also helps to avoid the confusion of referring to her by dif- ferent last names at different stages of her life.

9Beneze refers to her invention, "Kummer- feldsches Waschwasser gegen Sommerspros- sen und Flechten," in his introduction to her memoirs (KSK1:xxxi).In addition, Bohlau calls Schulze-Kummerfeld "die Erfinderin des Kum- merfeldschen Wasch- und Schonheitswassers, das bis heute noch in jeder Apotheke Deutsch- lands und weit iiber Deutschland hinaus zu haben ist" (I: 77-78).

loPatricia Meyer Spacks points out that many lBth-century female autobiographers similarly "sketch a drama of self-defense" (73).

l1Here "theatricality" refers to the conscious and deliberate performance of a public persona which marked the courtier; "anti-theatrical- ity" speaks to the honest and nayve expression of one's inner self without the deliberate ma- nipulation of one's outward appearance. For a discussion of theatricality among the aristoc- racy and the anti-theatrical bourgeois, see Geitner, Die Sprache der Verstellung.

l2See Becker-Cantarino and Mauser, eds., for discussions of century conceptions of friendship.

l3Schulze-Kummerfeld often refers to herself in terms of literary figures from contemporary women's fiction, and her allusion to the world of fiction serves both to heighten the glamour of her life as an actress and to legitimate her portrait of herself as a "good" bourgeois woman. Cf. p. 77 and 79 below.

14Habermas notes that in the bourgeois public sphere, "[Subjektivitat], als der innerste Hof des Privaten, ist stets schon auf Publikum be- zogen" and draws connections between that audience-oriented interiority and the develop- ment of the genres of domestic novel and auto- biography (63).

l5What Schulze-Kummerfeld detested about Hamburg was the political nature of life there. In her memoirs the citizens of Hamburg emerge as quintessential hypocrites, forever suspect- ing her of dissimulation while practicing it on their own.

16For discussions of the kinds of social negoti- ations actresses in the 18th century engaged in see Becker-Cantarino, "Von der Prinzipalin zur Kunstlerin und Matresse;" Berlantstein; Emde, Schauspielerinnen im Europa; Kord, "Tugend im Rampenlicht;" Laermann; and Schwanbeck.

17"[A] woman outside of her home loses her greatest luster, and despoiled of her real orna- ments, she displays herself indecently. If she has a husband, what is she seeking among men? If she does not, how can she expose her- self to putting off, by an immodest bearing, he who might be tempted to become her husband? Whatever she may do, one feels that in public she is not in her place" (Rousseau 88).

18Geitner reproduces a 1784 article out of the Theater-Journal fur Deutschland which makes a similar attempt to cast the actress asvirtuous in Schauspielerinnen 53-56. See also Fleig's description of Maria Teutscher's reputation as "blameless" in Handlungs-Spiel-Raume 56.

lgThis appears to have been a typical work- load. For example, the year previously she re- ports that the troupe performed 172 times. The repertory consisted of 16 tragedies, 81 dramasand comedies, and 32 "Nachspiele." Schulze- Kummerfeld claims she performed 123 times (not including ballet) in 84 roles, of which 56 were new (KSK 11: 114).

20For a fuller account of Schulze-Kummer- feld's description of her working conditions and life, see Buck, "Zur Situation;" for a vivid de- scription of life behind the curtain for women in the lBth century drawn from this and other sources see Kord, Ein Blick hinter die Kulissen esp. Ch. 2.

211n his essay on the image of the actress in lBth-century Germany, Harris observes both that "the actress [...I was either promiscuous or virtuous, and her character seemingly af- fected her performance" and "in that her pro- fession frequently dealt with the representa- tion of love in a constantly shifting persona, her admirers might be forgiven for believing that her offstage personality was just as casual in matters of the heart" (183).

22This retaliation was part of a larger rivalry between Schulze-Kummerfeld and the actress Friederike Sophie Hensel; many historians at- tribute the founding of the Hamburg National Theater at least in part to the competition between these two actresses, and to Hensel's machinations to establish herself as the leading actress in Ackermann's company. See for ex- ample Kord, "Tugend im Rampenlicht" 2; and Fleig 55-56. Buck, "Zur Situation" 321-22, sees Schulze-Kummerfeld's departure as motivated by her discomfort with the new, naturalistic playingstyle introduced by LessingandEckhof.

23La Roche 193-99.

24Cf. Nussbaum 134: "Women's self-writingin Restoration and 18th-century England ventriloquizes dominant ideologies of gender and class while it allows alternative discourses of 'experience' to erupt in the gaps between sub- ject positions."

25If we do take Schulze-Kummerfeld's story about recognizing the "sham marriage" to be a truthful account of an incident from her youth, then this episode may provide evidence that when young lBth-century girls read novels like Sophie Sternheim they looked beyond the mod- eling of naive female virtue and learned impor- tant lessons about the costs of such naivet6. For while such novels clearly valorize an anti-the- atrical mode of being for both women and men, their depiction of the dissimulatingvillain may have served to make naive girls a little less naive about the ways of the world. In other

words, her doubled attitude about perfor

mance, and her recognition of the necessity to

produce an image of naivet6, may have been

qualities that Karoline Schulze shared with

other girls of her era.

26Cf. Buck, "Zur Situation," 318-19.

27Rousseau, 81-89. See also Geitner, Die

Sprache der Verstellung esp. 293-94.

28Schulze-Kummerfeld's motives for writing her memoirs seem to come into play in a partic- ularly complex manner in her description of her marriage. She left acting at the height of her career to marry-full of expectation for happiness and stability-and her marriage was clearly a terrible disappointment. That said, she puts a brave face on it in her memoirs and continually insists that she loved her hus- band and was happy with her choice. The suspi- cious reader might wonder about the extent to which she has retroactively depicted her mar- riage as a "bourgeois tragedy" in which she gives herself the role of a martyred victim.

291n her collection of stories about Weimar, Helene Bijhlau paints a lively portrait of Schulze-Kummerfeld as a quaint and quirky old lady, lecturing her young charges on propri- ety and virtue as she takes them on a tour of Weimar's literary and cultural landmarks. At one point she has her fictional "Kummerfel- den" warn the young girls: "Kommt ihr zu ei- ner Heirat, mir soll's recht sein; aber besser ist es allemal, es kommt nicht dazu; das heifit. wenn man ein resolutes Frauenzimmer ist und weifi, was man will. Und ich bin eine Verhei- ratete und sag' das; merkt's euch: kein solch Ding von einer Jungfer, die von Angelegen- heiten schnackt, die sie nicht kennt" I: 82.

301 am grateful to Susanne Kord for calling my attention to this allusion, and to its connec- tions with my own argument.

Works Cited

Bausinger, Hermann. "Burgerlichkeit und Kul-

tur." Burger und Burgerlichkeit im 19. Jahr

hundert. Ed. Jurgen Kocka. Gottingen: Van-

denhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987. 12142. Becker-Cantarino, Barbara. "Von der Prinzipa-

lin zur Kunstlerin und Matresse: Die Schau-

spielerin im 18. Jahrhundert in Deutschland."

Die Schauspielerin: Zur Kulturgeschichte der

weiblichen Biihnenkunst. Ed. Renate Mohr- mann. Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1989. 88-113.

Becker-Cantarino, Barbara, and Wolfram Mau- ser, eds. Frauenfieundschaft-Mannerfreundschaft: Literarische Diskurse im 18. Jahrhun- dert. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer, 1991.

Berlantstein, Lenard R. "Women and Power in 18th-Century France: Actresses at the Comb- die Franpise." Feminist Studies 20.3 (1994): 475-506.

Blackbourn, David. "The German Bourgeoisie: An Introduction." The German Bourgeoisie: Essays on the Social History of the Gennan Middle Class from the Late 18th to the Early Twentieth Century. London: Routledge, 1991.

145. Bohlau, Helene. Gesammelte Werke. 6 vols. Berlin: Ullstein und Co., 1915.

Buck, Inge. "Zur Situation der Frauen am Theater im 18. Jahrhundert am Beispiel von Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld (1745-1815)." Lessing und die Toleranz. Sonderband zum Lessing Yearbook. Ed. Peter Freimark, Frank- lin Kopitzsch, and Helga Slessarev. Detroit: Wayne State UF: 1985.313-24.

Butler, Judith. "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution:An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory." Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre. Ed. Sue-Ellen Case. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UF: 1990.270-83.

Daniel, Ute. Rev. of Schauspielerinnen im Eu- ropa des 18. Jahrhunderts, by Ruth B. Emde. IASL online. 28 April 2000. 21 August 2001.

Fleig, Anne. Handlungs-Spiel-Raume: Dramen von Autorinnen im Theater des ausgehenden

18. Jahrhunderts. Wiirzburg: Konigshausen und Neumann, 1999.

Geitner, Ursula. Die Sprache der Verstellung. Studien zum rhetorischen und anthropologi- schen Wissen im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Tiibingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1992. .Schauspielerinnen: Der theatralische Eintritt der Frau in die Moderne. Bielefeld: Haux, 1988.

Gilmore, Leigh. Autobiographics: A Feminist Theory of Women's Self-Representation. Ithaca: Cornell UE: 1994.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Gedenkausgabe der Werke, Briefe, und Gesprache. Ed. Ernst Beutler. 24 vols. Zurich: Artemis, 1950.

Goodman, Katherine. DislClosures: Women's Autobiography in Germany between 1790 and 1914. New York: Lang, 1986.

Gutjahr, Ortrud. "GesellschaRsffigkeit und gesel- hge Rolle der Schauspielerin irn 18. Jahrhun- dert." Gesellige Vernunft: Zur Kultur der litemri- schen Aufiliirung. Ed. Ortmd Gutjahr, Wilhelm Kihhann and Wolf Wucherpfennig. Wiirzburg: Ki5mgshausen und Neumann, 1993.83-110.

Habermas, Jiirgen. Struktunuandel der 0ffent- lichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der burgerlichen Gesellschaft. Neuwied: Her- mann Luchterhand, 1962.

Harris, Edward F! "From Outcast to Ideal: The Image of the Actress in 18th-Century Ger- many" German Quarterly 54.2 (1981): 177-87.

Jacobs, Monty. Deutsche Schauspielkunst: Zeug-

<(Http://iasl.uni-muenchen.de/rezensio/liste/ nisse zur Biihnengeschichte klassischer Rol-


Devrient, Eduard. Geschichte der Deutschen Schauspielkunst. Ed. Rolf Kabel and Chris- toph Trilse. 2 vols. Berlin: Henschel, 1967.

Emde, Ruth B. "Manuskripte und Memoiren von Schauspielerinnen des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ein Leben mit Texten, durch Texte, &r Texte, in Texte." Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert 20.2 (1996): 181-96. . Schauspielerinnen im Europa des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben, ihre Schriften und ihr Publikum. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997.

Engelbrecht, Johann Andreas. "Von dem biirger- lichen Trauerspiel." Willhelm Cooke: Grund- satze der dramatischen Kritik. Aus dem Englischen iibersetzt, mit Zusatzen undAnmerkungen [von Johann Andreas Engel- brecht]. Lubeck und Leipzig, 1777. 132-38.

len. Leipzig: Insel, 1913.

Kaschuba, Wolfgang. "German Biirgerlichkeit after 1800: Culture as Symbolic Practice." Bourgeois Society in Nineteenth-Century Eu- rope. Ed. Jurgen Kocka and Allan Mitchell. Oxford: Berg, 1993.392422.

Kocka, Jurgen. "Biirgertum und Biirgerlichkeit als Probleme der deutschen Geschichte vom spaten 18. zum friihen 20. Jahrhundert." Biirger und Biirgerlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert.Ed. Jiirgen Kocka. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987.21-63. . "The European Pattern and the German Case." Bourgeois Society in Nineteenth-Cen- tury Europe. Ed. Jiirgen Kocka and Allan Mitchell. Odord: Berg, 1993. 3-39. . "The Middle Classes in Europe." Journal of Modern History 67.4 (1995): 783-806.

Kord, Susanne. Ein Blick hinter die Kulissen. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1992.

. "Tugend im Rampenlicht: Friederike Sophie Hensel als Schauspielerin und Dramati- kerin." German Quarterly 66.1 (1993): 1-19.

La Roche, Sophie von. Die Geschichte des Frau- leins uon Sternheim. Ed. Barbara Becker-Can- tarino. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1983.

Laermann, Klaus. "Die riskante Person in der moralischen Anstalt: Zur Darstellung der Schauspielerin in deutschen Theaterschriften des spaten 18. Jahrhunderts." Die Schauspie- lerin: Zur Kulturgeschichte der weiblichen Buhnenkunst. Ed. Renate Mijhrmann. Frank- furt a. M.: Insel, 1989. 127-53.

Laube, Heinrich. Das norddeutsche Theater: Ein neuer Beitrag zur deutschen Theatergeschich- te. Leipzig: J.J.Weber, 1872.

Lepsius, M. Rainer. "Zur Soziologie des Biirger- tums und der Biirgerlichkeit." Burger und Burgerlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert. Ed. Jiir- gen Kocka. Gijttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ru- precht, 1987. 79-100.

Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim. Samtliche Schriften. Ed. Karl Lachmann and Franz Muncker. Stuttgart: G. J.Goschen, 1890.

Litzmann, Berthold. Friedrich Ludwig Schroder Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Litteratur und Theatergeschichte. 2 vols. Hamburg: Verlag von Leopold VoB, 189011894.

Maurer-Schmoock, Sybille. Deutsches Theater im

18. Jahrhundert. Tiibingen: Max Niemeyer, 1982.

Molloy, Sylvia. At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America. Cambridge: Cam- bridge UT: 1991.

Miicke, Dorothea von. Virtue and the Veil of Zllu- sion. Stanford: Stanford UE: 1991.

Nietharnrner, Ortrun. Autobwgraphien uon Frau- en im 18. Jahrhundert. Tiibingen: A. Francke, 2000.

Nipperdey, Thomas. "Kommentar: 'Biirgerlich' als Kultur." Burger und Burgerlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert. Ed. Jiirgen Kocka. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987. 143-48.

Nussbaum, Felicity. The Autobiographical Sub- ject: Gender and Ideology in 18th-Century England. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UE:


Rousseau, Jean Jacques. Politics and the Arts: Letter to M. d'Alembert on the Theater. Trans. Allan Bloom. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1960.

Schulze-Kummerfeld, Karoline. Lebenserinnerungen der Komodiantin Karoline Schulze- Kummerfeld. Ed. Emil Beneze. 2 vols. Berlin: Selbstverlag der Gesellschaft fur Theater- geschichte, 1915.

Schulze-Kummerfeld, Karoline, and Inge Buck. Ein fahrendes Frauenzimmer: die Lebens- erinnerungen der Komodiantin Karoline Schulze-Kummerfeld 1745-1815. Ed. Inge Buck. Berlin: Orlanda Frauenverlag, 1988.

Schiitze, Johann Friedrich. Hamburgische The- atergeschichte.Hamburg: J.P Treder, 1794.

Schwanbeck, Gisela. Sozialprobleme der Schau- spielerin im Ablauf dreier Jahrhunderte. Berlin-Dahlem: Colloquium Verlag Otto H. Hess, 1957.

Spacks, Patricia Meyer. Imagining a Sell? Auto- biography and Novel in 18th-Century Eng- land. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UT: 1976.

Wanko, Cheryl. "The 18th-Century Actress and the Construction of Gender: Lavinia Fenton and Charlotte Charke." 18th-Century Life 18 (1994): 75-90.

Wetzels, Walter D. "Schauspielerinnen im 18. Jahrhundert-zwei Perspektiven: Wilhelm Meister und die Memoiren der Schulze-Kum- merfeld." Die Frau uon der Reformation zur Romantik. Ed. Barbara Becker-Cantarino. Bonn: Bouvier, 1980.195-216.

  • Recommend Us