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HISTORY OF EUROPEAN DRAMA AND THEATER Pages - - Text Version | FlipHTML5
PDF Preview. Table of Contents. Related Content. Brill's Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus. Editor: Rebecca Futo Kennedy. And, while he has not been the most reproduced of the three Attic tragedians on the stage since then, his receptions have transcended genre and crossed to nearly every continent.
Brill's Companion to the Reception of Euripides. Editors: Rosanna Lauriola and Kyriakos N. Brill's Companion to the Reception of Euripides provides a comprehensive account of the influence and appropriation of all extant Euripidean plays since their inception: from antiquity to modernity, across cultures and civilizations, from multiple perspectives and within a broad range of human experience and cultural trends, namely literature, intellectual history, visual arts, music, opera and dance, stage and cinematography.
A concerted work by an international team of specialists in the field, the volume is addressed to a wide and multidisciplinary readership of classical reception studies, from experts to non-experts. Contributors engage in a vividly and lively interactive dialogue with the Ancient and the Modern which, while illuminating aspects of ancient drama and highlighting their ever-lasting relevance, offers a thoughtful and layered guide of the human condition.
Editor: Eric Dodson Robinson. Likewise, his theoretical writing on theater is connected with the praxis of it. Thus, Lessing should have the last word, but only in order to praise the drama as a performance. After all, it is the performance that gives the theater its aesthetic value. Above all, it highlights the fact that performance cannot be replaced by mere reading.
Herbert G. Munich: Hanser, , vol.
VIAF ID: 62365332 (Personal)
Unless otherwise indicated, all subsequent quotations are from this edition G and will be indicated in notes with volume and page number, for example G 4, Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie, G 4, — Lessing, Briefe, die neueste Litteratur betreffend, G 5, Jahrhunderts: Eine Bibliographie Munich: Fink, See also Bibliographia dramatica et dramaticorum, edited by Reinhart Meyer, 1. Abteilung: Werkausgaben, Sammlungen, Reihen, 3 vols. Abteilung: Einzeltitel, vol. Jahrhundert Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, , Their popularity documents the high demand for lighthearted entertainment.
See David G.
Lessing, Briefe, die neueste Litteratur betreffend, G 5, 70— Lessing, Briefe, die neueste Litteratur betreffend, G 5, 72— Jahrhundert Munich: Utz, See also Fick, Lessing-Handbuch, — Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie, G 4, The private correspondence — was not published until See Fick, Lessing- Handbuch, Lessing, Theatralische Bibliothek, G 4, Fischer-Lichte, Kurze Geschichte des deutschen Theaters, — Lessing, Hamburgische Dramaturgie, G 4, 3. It is a process in which one first evaluates the current state of knowledge in specific areas of society that seem outdated, before one develops an empirical, philosophical, or scientifically informed and new approach.
This critical work can penetrate and apply to every aspect of knowledge in society: philosophy, politics, the sciences, health, agriculture, farming, literature or, as in our case, theater. Common in all these efforts is the desire to change society in the social, political, or cultural domain. This process and project of Enlightenment pervaded mainly England, France, and Germany during the eighteenth century. The bourgeoisie, especially young intellectuals, were the main social group that embraced and advanced the project of Enlightenment.
Lessing — one can easily argue — embodies the paradigm of German Enlightenment in the second half of the eighteenth century. Johann Christoph Gottsched — in his Versuch einer Critischen Dichtkunst vor die Deutschen An Essay on Critical Poetics for the Germans, was the last person to develop such a comprehensive theory. As a student in Leipzig — at the age of seventeen — he visited theater performances and began writing on all aspects of theater.
He continued this until the age of thirty-eight when the Deutsche Nationaltheater in Hamburg closed. I list them in order of composition: 1. Theatralische Bibliothek Theatrical Library, — Hamburgische Dramaturgie Hamburg Dramaturgy, — Literary historians and critics have focused mainly on the last three works. I will follow this common practice but deviate in two significant ways.
His theoretical and critical texts on drama should not be separated from the practical aspects of the theater and of society at large. In the following, I will discuss briefly all three aspects in order. As we can see from the above chronological list of theoretical texts, Lessing utilized various genres for his writing on drama, ranging from essays in a journal to semi-private letters and from published letters to critical reviews.
Essays, letters, and reviews are all genres conducive to exploring and elaborating new ideas in an evolving manner, that is, practicing a discursive style of writing. Instead of setting forth a linear and systematic argument, Lessing often introduces one aspect at some length, only to shift abruptly to a new idea or aspect, after which he might return to his first thesis or point of departure.
It is as if the reader is invited to observe and engage in the very process of thinking. As Monika Fick argues, Lessing stages in his writing the dynamic process of thinking. Thus his theoretical mind is simultaneously practical because he applies it to the practice of a dramatic performance in a theater.
When Lessing looks back and reflects on his first forty-nine reviews, he does so in his discursive style, here with a witty comment: Wahrlich, ich betaure [sic] meine Leser, die sich an diesem Blatte eine theatralische Zeitung versprochen haben, so mancherlei und bunt, so unterhaltend und schnurrig, als eine theatralische Zeitung nur sein kann. Und das sollen sie lesen?
His work in Hamburg and his Hamburgische Dramaturgie led to the creation of a new profession that is still highly significant for German-speaking theaters, which are mostly state-funded: that of the dramaturge. For Lessing the theater should serve as a public space for the bourgeoisie that displays and conveys its own concerns of morality, politics, and aesthetics.
Lessings "Miss Sara Sampson" zwischen Tradition und Avantgarde – Bc. Eva Komoňová
That Lessing chose to write a play — and not a treatise — shows his strong belief that the theater should serve as a public sphere in which matters of politics and morality should be negotiated by artistic means. In other words, it is this very combination of theoretical underpinnings and theatrical practice that makes Lessing a key figure in German theater history. He not only reflected on the sentimental comedy, but also created its German prototype, Minna von Barnhelm There are two striking indicators of this neglect. In the United States the position of a dramaturge is generally unknown, and has only started gaining momentum in recent years in avant-garde theaters where she or he serves as a critical voice in developing the plays for the season, promoting new plays, and critically assisting the overall production — much as Lessing did in Hamburg.
Only the Hamburgische Dramaturgie has been translated, and it is out of print. To make this inadequacy become even more apparent: the last publication of this translation dates back forty years, and the translation itself dates from This can be explained by the different traditions of theater practice and history in the German-speaking countries and the United States. Lessing did not favor a strict dichotomy between moral discourse and entertainment value; just the opposite is true. However, he is certainly the first theater critic and playwright in German who argues that the artistic quality of the play and the performance should override commercial concerns or mere entertainment value.
For Lessing, the theater should be a public forum that engages its audience in the project of Enlightenment. Let us once again frame our concerns within the triad of dramatic literature, performance, and theater. Wir haben keine Schauspieler. As overstated and polemical as this is, Lessing has a point: the number of plays written in German and performed in the Germanspeaking states from the s until the mids was dismal.
Most dramas were translations from the French, Italian, or English. Striking too is that the majority of works were not tragedies but comedies. It is this author- and text-based model of theater that Lessing regrets is lacking, and its lack at the time enables us to see the importance of what Lessing, his contemporaries, and subsequently a new generation of authors initiated and began to establish.
One of the reasons there were so few authors writing plays in German was the lack of theater buildings except for those at the courts, and even those were not open to the public until the late eighteenth century.
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