Is there a German Shakespeare?
Shakespeare has been enlisted as a characteristically Gothic writer, free from classical restraint and intimately connected with the land. This is why he was so rapidly absorbed into Teutonic culture by Goethe and the German Romanticists at the end of the 18th century.
The first play of his that I read made me his for life … I stood like one born blind, on whom a miraculous hand bestows sight in a moment. I saw, I felt, in the most vivid manner, that my existence was infinitely expanded.
So deep was the German identification with Shakespeare that he was used in anti-British propaganda during the First World War.