Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: His Life, Works, and Thought

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Oxford University Press, Sep 26, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 734 pages
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Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) is the most eminent literary figure of the German Enlightenment and a writer of European significance. His range of interest as dramatist, poet, critic, philosopher, theologian, philologist and much else besides was comparable to that of Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau, with all of whose ideas he engaged. He contributed decisively to the emergence of German as a literary language and was the founder of modern German literature, urging his compatriots to look to England rather than France for literary inspiration. His major plays (including the classic drama on religious tolerance, Nathan the Wise) are still regularly performed. He was a brilliant controversialist, and his philosophical and religious writings profoundly shook traditional assumptions. This book sets his life and work in the context of the intellectual, social, and cultural background of eighteenth-century Europe. It is the first comprehensive account of Lessing's life for over a century, and it serves as a reference work on all aspects of Lessing's life, work, and thought. The German edition, published in 2008, is now regarded as definitive; it was awarded the Hamann Research Prize of the University and city of Münster and the Einhard Prize for Biography of the Einhard Foundation in Seligenstadt. The present English edition has been revised and updated in the light of relevant publications since 2008.
  

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Contents

Why Lessing?
1
1 Kamenz Meissen Leipzig 17291748
7
2 Early Dramas and Poetry
43
Society Journalism Didactic Poetry
79
History of Scholarship Philosophy Theology and Religion Classical Philology Epigrams
113
the Academy Quarrel Translations and Collected Writings Social Circle and the Death of Mylius Mendelssohn Nicolai and Other New Friendships Po...
149
the Theatrical Library Samuel Henzi Miss Sara Sampson Correspondence with Mendelssohn and Nicolai on Tragedy
183
Travels Translations and Journalism Kleist Gleim and the Seven Years War Philotas
221
17701782
457
17701775
479
17761778
507
17761779
537
19 The Education of the Human Race and Ernst and Falk
571
20 Nathan the Wise
601
Declining Health Conversations on Spinoza Last Illness and Death Memorials and Monuments Lessings Estate
625
an Outline
655

Letters on Literature Logau Edition Fables and Essays on the Fable Translations of Diderot Sophocles
249
War and Peace in Breslau 17601765
279
10 Laocoön Last Years in Berlin 17651766
303
11 Minna von Barnhelm
335
12 Hamburg and the National Theatre
359
Hamburg Dramaturgy Dramatic Fragments Antiquarian Letters How the Ancients Portrayed Death
391
17701776
423

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About the author (2013)


Hugh Barr Nisbet, Emeritus Professor of German, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College

H. B. Nisbet is Emeritus Professor of German at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College. His main research area is the German literature and thought of the eighteenth century in the context of the European Enlightenment. He has written books on Herder and Goethe and translated numerous works of Kant and Hegel into English. He has served as Germanic and General Editor of Modern Language Review and is joint General Editor of The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism (nine volumes, 1989-2013). His edition and translation of Lessing's Philosophical and Theological Writings was published in 2005.

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