A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

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Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox
Camden House, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 410 pages
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One of the most independent thinkers in German intellectual history, the Enlightenment author Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) contributed in decisive and lasting fashion to literature, philosophy, theology, criticism, and drama theory. Lessing invented the b rgerliches Trauerspiel (bourgeois tragedy) and wrote one of the first successful German tragedies as well as one of the finest German comedies. In his final dramatic masterpiece, Nathan der Weise, he writes of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, of religious tolerance and intolerance and the clash of civilizations. Lessing's dramas are the oldest German theater pieces still regularly performed (both in Germany and internationally), and both his plays and his drama theory have influenced such writers as Goethe, Schiller, Hebbel, Hauptmann, Ibsen, Strindberg, Schnitzler, and Brecht. Addressing an audience ranging from graduate students to seasoned scholars, this volume introduces Lessing's life and times and places him within the broader context of the European Enlightenment. It discusses his pathbreaking dramas, his equally revolutionary theoretical, critical, and aesthetic writings, his original fables, his innovative work in philosophy and theology, and his significant contributions to Jewish emancipation. The volume concludes by examining 20th-century reception of Lessing and his oeuvre. Contributors: Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox, Steven D. Martinson, Klaus L. Berghahn, John Pizer, Beate Allert, H. B. Nisbet, Arno Schilson, Willi Goetschel, Peter H yng, Karin A. Wurst, Ann Schmiesing, Reinhart Meyer, Hans-Joachim Kertscher, Hinrich C. Seeba, Dieter Fratzke, Helmut Berthold, Herbert Rowland. Barbara Fischer is Associate Professor of German and Thomas C. Fox is Professor of German, both at the University of Alabama.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Lessings Life and Work
13
Lessing and the European Enlightenment
41
Polemics as Enlightenment
67
Lessing and the Fable
89
Lessings Poetics as an Approach to Aesthetics
105
Lessing and Philosophy
133
Lessing and Theology
157
Gender and Identity in Lessings Dramas
231
Reception
246
Lessing and the Third Reich
261
Lessing on the GermanSpeaking Stage in the Federal Republic
283
Lessing on the East German Stage and Screen
301
200 Years of
327
The Lessing Museum and Research Center for Lessing
353
A Brief History of the Lessing Society
359

Lessing and the Jews
185
Discursive Writings on Drama
211
Notes on the Contributors
393
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Thomas C. Fox is Professor of German at the University of Alabama

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