1st Edition

The Hamburg Dramaturgy by G.E. Lessing A New and Complete Annotated English Translation

Edited By Natalya Baldyga Copyright 2019
    468 Pages
    by Routledge

    468 Pages
    by Routledge

    While eighteenth-century playwright and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing made numerous contributions in his lifetime to the theater, the text that best documents his dynamic and shifting views on dramatic theory is also that which continues to resonate with later generations – the Hamburg Dramaturgy (Hamburgische Dramaturgie, 1767–69). This collection of 104 short essays represents one of the eighteenth century’s most important critical engagements with the theater and its potential to promote humanistic discourse. Lessing’s essays are an immensely erudite, deeply engaged, witty, ironic, and occasionally scathing investigation of European theatrical culture, bolstered by deep analysis of Aristotelian dramatic theory and utopian visions of theater as a vehicle for human connection.

    This is the first complete English translation of Lessing's text, with extensive annotations that place the work in its historical context. For the first time, English-language readers can trace primary source references and link Lessing’s observations on drama, theory, and performance not only to the plays he discusses, but also to dramatic criticism and acting theory. This volume also includes three introductory essays that situate Lessing’s work both within his historical time period and in terms of his influence on Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment theater and criticism.

    The newly translated Hamburg Dramaturgy will speak to dramaturgs, directors, and humanities scholars who see theater not only for entertainment, but also for philosophical and political debate.



    List of Contributors

    A Note on the Original Author

    Missions, Misunderstandings, and Mythologies: The Relationship between the Hamburg Dramaturgy and the Hamburg National Theater by Natalya Baldyga

    "We have actors, but no art of acting": Performance Theory and Theatrical Emotion in the Hamburg Dramaturgy by Natalya Baldyga

    The Legacy of the Hamburg Dramaturgy by Michael M. Chemers

    Note on the Translation by Wendy Arons and Sara Figal

    The Hamburg Dramaturgy by G. E. Lessing

    Volume I


    Essay 1

    Essay 2

    Essay 3

    Essay 4

    Essay 5

    Essay 6

    Essay 7

    Essay 8

    Essay 9

    Essay 10

    Essay 11

    Essay 12

    Essay 13

    Essay 14

    Essay 15

    Essay 16

    Essay 17

    Essay 18

    Essay 19

    Essay 20

    Essay 21

    Essay 22

    Essay 23

    Essay 24

    Essay 25

    Essay 26

    Essay 27

    Essay 28

    Essay 29

    Essay 30

    Essay 31

    Essay 32

    Essay 33

    Essay 34

    Essay 35

    Essay 36

    Essay 37

    Essay 38

    Essay 39

    Essay 40

    Essay 41

    Essay 42

    Essay 43

    Essay 44

    Essay 45

    Essay 46

    Essay 47

    Essay 48

    Essay 49

    Essay 50

    Essay 51

    Essay 52

    Volume II

    Essay 53

    Essay 54

    Essay 55

    Essay 56

    Essay 57

    Essay 57

    Essay 58

    Essay 59

    Essay 60

    Essay 61

    Essay 62

    Essay 63

    Essay 64

    Essay 65

    Essay 66

    Essay 67

    Essay 68

    Essay 69

    Essay 70

    Essay 71

    Essay 72

    Essay 73

    Essay 74

    Essay 75

    Essay 76

    Essay 77

    Essay 78

    Essay 79

    Essay 80

    Essay 81

    Essay 82

    Essay 83

    Essay 84

    Essay 85

    Essay 86

    Essays 87 and 88

    Essay 89

    Essay 90

    Essay 91

    Essay 92

    Essay 93

    Essay 94

    Essay 95

    Essay 96

    Essay 97

    Essay 98

    Essay 99

    Essay 100

    Essays 101, 102, 103, and 104


    Notes to essays 1–104

    Notes to the Paralipomena

    Works Cited

    Subject index

    Name index

    Title index


    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–81) was a playwright, critic, and philosopher of the German Enlightenment. His plays include Miss Sara Sampson, Minna von Barnhelm, Emilia Galotti, and Nathan the Wise. In addition to the Hamburg Dramaturgy, Lessing is known for his masterpiece of aesthetic theory, Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry.

    Wendy Arons is professor of drama at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the author of Performance and Femininity in Eighteenth-Century German Women's Writing: The Impossible Act (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and co-editor, with Theresa J. May, of Readings in Performance and Ecology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

    Sara Figal’s research centers on eighteenth-century German literature and history. She is the author of Heredity, Race, and the Birth of the Modern (Routledge, 2011 and 2008) and co-editor, with Mark Larrimore, of The German Invention of Race (SUNY Press, 2007 and 2006).

    Natalya Baldyga’s research focuses on theater historiography, cultural identity, and the performing body in eighteenth-century Europe. Her published essays include "Sensate Cognition and Properly Feeling Bodies: G. E. Lessing, Acting Theory, and Emotional Regulation in Eighteenth-Century Germany" (Theatre Survey, 2017).