Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

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    An essay upon the limits of painting and poetry. With remarks illustrative of various points in the history of ancient art Dec 14, Get it by Friday, Sep 27 Only 1 left in stock more on the way. Other Formats: Paperback. Laocoon Aug 8, Temporarily out of stock.

    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing - New World Encyclopedia

    More Information. Anything else? Provide feedback about this page. Back to top. Get to Know Us. In Act II, scene 3, seven spirits of hell offer their services. Faust needs the swiftest: neither the finger through the flames, nor the arrows of the plague, nor the wings of winds, nor the rays of the sun, nor the thoughts of men, nor the revenge of the revenger can be as quick as the transition from good to evil, which he chooses as his quickest servant. Abhandlungen contains five "Essays on Fable": on the essence of fable; on the use of animals, for example, the wolf and lamb, to illustrate a moral truth; on the division of the stories; on their artistic presentation; and on their use in education.


    Lessing lets the readers discover the moral for themselves. According to Lessing the Sinngedicht epigram is a kind of headline or inscription as on monuments to arouse curiosity and attention. The Laokoon , first part is, next to Hamburgische Dramaturgie, Lessing's most important literary and esthetic criticism. Poetry and paintings are interpreted as essentially different expressions: actions, or things which succeed one another, are the true subjects of poetry; bodies are the true subjects of painting and sculpture. Beauty, not Johann Joachim Winckelmann's "noble simplicity and serene greatness," is the highest principle of artistic presentation.

    Laokoon's death agony would distort his features to an unbearable degree. The sculptor is subject to artistic laws different from those of poetry. Bildende Kunst pictorial art depicts bodies adjacent to one another and presented in the most pregnant moment of time, whereas literature presents actions in succession.

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    • In Minna von Barnhelm, set in the Seven Years War, appeared, a landmark in 18th-century German drama—its first successful comedy, first truly national drama, and still a popular play. Doubtless the national elements are unmistakable, but they are not decisive in this comedy of situation the deception with the ring, the apparent poverty, and so on and of character the teasing Minna and the chivalrous but rigid Tellheim. The vividly funny, mirth-provoking effects are mainly delegated to subaltern figures Just, Franziska, and the retired sergeant major Werner , whose deeds are set against the serious, touching conflict between Tellheim and Minna, at times verging on tragedy.

      But their essentially generous characters assure an ultimately happy outcome. From to Lessing was dramaturge of the national theater in Hamburg. His periodical, Hamburgische Dramaturgie, appeared on April 22, , the day a national theater first opened in Germany.

      Literatur der Aufklärung - musstewissen Deutsch

      Lessing revealed himself as a champion of Shakespeare and a relentless critic of the slavishly observed French "three unities" of time, place, and action. For Lessing, Shakespeare was nearest to the Greek tragedians-thus in a sense a "classic" author. It was not until the early German romantics that Shakespeare was fully understood as essentially akin to the German genius.

      Lessing translated Aristotle's fobos kai eleos as Furcht fear; not Schrecken, or terror and Mitleid pity. The two terms are pivotal in the main discussions of the Hamburgische Dramaturgie: we are prompted by the fear that a similar fate may befall us; thus fear is pity transferred to ourselves. Lessing's Letters of Antiquarian Content Briefe anti-quarischen Inhalts, arose from a bitter dispute in Halle with the antiquarian Christian Adolf Klotz, who attacked Laokoon.

      Another polemic against Klotz, who misunderstood a remark in Laokoon, is the inquiry into the theory about death and youth, Wie die Alten den Tod gebildet , in which Lessing rightly maintains that skeletons portrayed by the ancient Greeks never were meant to symbolize death. According to Lessing, the skeletons on sarcophagi, sepulchers, monuments, and the like portrayed lemures, or spirits of the dead. The Greeks showed death as the twin brother of sleep, as in Homer, namely as a youth. Klotz misread and deliberately obscured Lessing's statement about death in chapter 11 of Laokoon.

      There is no question of mawkishly glossing over the terrors of death.

      Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

      As a rationalist, Lessing faced the issue with unshrinking sentiment: death meant the end of suffering; Lessing, therefore, aptly concludes his erudite Untersuchung with a reference to Scripture in which an angel is the image of death. Emilia Galotti, a domestic tragedy based on the Virginia theme, appeared in Gotthold Ephraim Lessing turned more and more toward literature, working as a professional writer in Berlin and as the dramatic advisor for the National Theater in Hamburg beginning in His "Hamburg Dramaturgy" appeared during this time.

      It was a short, happy marriage, for in the next year, their newborn son died, with Lessing's wife following a few weeks later.

      Education and first dramatic works.

      In spite of these circumstances and his worsening health, he finished his last piece, "Nathan der Weise," in