A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing by Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox

By Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox

The most self sustaining thinkers in German highbrow background, the Enlightenment writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) contributed in decisive and lasting style to literature, philosophy, theology, feedback, and drama idea. As a playwright, Lessing invented a brand new German dramatic style, the bourgeois tragedy or bürgerliches Trauerspiel, and wrote one of many first profitable German tragedies, Miß Sara Sampson, in addition to one of many best German comedies, Minna von Barnhelm. In his ultimate dramatic masterpiece, Nathan der Weise (Nathan the clever, 1779), he writes of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, of non secular tolerance and intolerance and the conflict of civilizations. Lessing's dramas are the oldest German theater items nonetheless played on a regular basis on German and foreign levels. either his performs and his drama conception have inspired such writers as Goethe, Schiller, Hebbel, Hauptmann, Ibsen, Strindberg, Schnitzler, and Brecht. Addressing an viewers starting from graduate scholars to pro students, this quantity introduces Lessing's lifestyles and occasions and locations him in the broader context of the eu Enlightenment. It discusses his pathbreaking dramas, his both innovative theoretical, serious, and aesthetic writings, his unique fables, his cutting edge paintings in philosophy and theology, and his major contributions to Jewish emancipation. the quantity concludes via studying the reception of Lessing and his oeuvre in Nazi Germany, within the former East and West Germanys, and in modern severe conception. participants: Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox, Steven D. Martinson, Klaus L. Berghahn, John Pizer, Beate Allert, H. B. Nisbet, Arno Schilson, Willi Goetschel, Peter Höyng, Karin A. Wurst, Ann Schmiesing, Reinhart Meyer, Hans-Joachim Kertscher, Hinrich C. Seeba, Dieter Fratzke, Helmut Berthold, Herbert Rowland. Barbara Fischer is affiliate professor of German and Thomas C. Fox is professor of German, either on the collage of Alabama.

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Additional info for A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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Minna and Tellheim also transcend those stock roles, learning from each other in the course of the play. This is German drama as Lessing projected it: at once modern and classical, contemporary yet timeless. In Hamburg Minna von Barnhelm proved a great success. 38 During the nineteenth century, nationalistically-minded Germans often read the play as a glorification of Prussia; a letter from Frederick, after all, restores Tellheim’s honor, leading Tellheim to rapturous praise of the king: “Ha! Er hat sich auch hier nicht verleugnet!

Hilaria, the fiancée of Wumshäter’s son Valer, unmasks Wumshäter’s vice. Degraded and humiliated by him due to her gender, she gains his respect when she interacts with him disguised as a man named Lelio. Lessing takes his strategy of revealing prejudice, hypocrisy, and intolerance yet further in Die Juden, staged in 1749 and published in 1754. Lessing’s contemporaries, aware of ancient conventions concerning the use of titles, might well have expected a play that presented Jewishness itself as the “flaw,” or a play that somehow corrected the “vice” or “flaw” represented by the Jews.

While there were many aspects that made the Empire one German society, there were none that marked Germany as a single political entity or state, and the formal structure of politics of the Empire could not substitute for a national political structure. The Empire was a medieval construct that Napoleon would eliminate in 1806. But prior to Napoleonic intervention the political fragmentation and diversity of the Empire, caused by centrifugal forces, characterized German history. During the eighteenth century, the German Empire was dominated by the inner-German rivalry between Austria and the emerging Prussia, between the South and the North, between Catholicism and Protestantism.

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