By Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox
Essentially the most autonomous thinkers in German highbrow historical past, the Enlightenment writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) contributed in decisive and lasting type to literature, philosophy, theology, feedback, and drama thought. 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 frequently on German and overseas levels. either his performs and his drama concept have encouraged such writers as Goethe, Schiller, Hebbel, Hauptmann, Ibsen, Strindberg, Schnitzler, and Brecht. Addressing an viewers starting from graduate scholars to professional students, this quantity introduces Lessing's lifestyles and occasions and locations him in the broader context of the ecu Enlightenment. It discusses his pathbreaking dramas, his both innovative theoretical, serious, and aesthetic writings, his unique fables, his leading edge paintings in philosophy and theology, and his major contributions to Jewish emancipation. the quantity concludes via interpreting the reception of Lessing and his oeuvre in Nazi Germany, within the former East and West Germanys, and in modern severe idea. members: 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 resources for A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
10 Here we have an early indication that Lessing, though excellently equipped for the life of a scholar, would not be satisfied by books alone. 1746–1748: Leipzig Life in cosmopolitan Leipzig differed substantially from Lessing’s family life in the remote provincial town of Kamenz. Lessing’s contemporaries called the elegant city a “little Paris”; international trade fairs, among them the annual book fair, lent it a worldly touch. It was during his time here that Lessing, through his relative Christlob Mylius (1722–1754), a journalist, writer, and genial bohème, came into contact with touring theater companies and traveling actors.
Lessing also met Johann Arnold Ebert (1723–1795), professor of history and English literature from Braunschweig, who secured for him a position at the Ducal Library (Herzogliche Bibliothek) in the town of Wolfenbüttel. 1770–1781: Wolfenbüttel In 1769 Lessing decided to move to Wolfenbüttel, in the Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, but due to illness and financial difficulties, he first started his work as librarian of the Ducal Library on 7 May 1770. Working in one of the best library collections of the eighteenth century 30 BARBARA FISCHER AND THOMAS C.
A central and much-excerpted part of the play is the parable of the rings, based on a scene from Boccaccio’s Decameron. The Sultan asks Nathan to tell him which religion—Judaism, Islam, or Christianity—is the true one. Nathan responds with a fairy tale of a man with three sons whom he loves equally. He cannot decide to whom he should leave his ring, which possesses the power to make whomever wears it pleasing to humans and to God. He has copies made, and leaves each son a ring. Each son feels that he possesses the true ring, and all press their claims in court.