Heyse and Storm on the slippery slope: two differing approaches to euthanasia

Burns, B. (1998) Heyse and Storm on the slippery slope: two differing approaches to euthanasia. German Life and Letters, 51(1), pp. 28-42. (doi: 10.1111/1468-0483.00083)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


The article considers two different nineteenth‐century literary approaches to the subject of mercy killing. Paul Heyse and Theodor Storm were friends whose concurrent treatments of the theme of euthanasia in the late 1880s brought them temporarily into conflict with one another. Heyse’s Auf Tod und Leben and Die schwerste Pflicht and Storm’s Ein Bekenntnis represent interesting early attempts to address in literary form a difficult moral issue before many of the arguments in the modern debate over voluntary euthanasia had been fully articulated. The three works are examined in order to ascertain what they reveal about the contrasting world views of the two writers, and to focus attention on the questions they raise relating to the hardening of the moral climate in Germany and the Nazi ‘euthanasia’ programme which was to come.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burns, Dr Barbara
Authors: Burns, B.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Journal Name:German Life and Letters
ISSN (Online):1468-0483

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record