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A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing by Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox

By Barbara Fischer, Thomas C. Fox

Essentially the most autonomous thinkers in German highbrow heritage, the Enlightenment writer Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) contributed in decisive and lasting model to literature, philosophy, theology, feedback, and drama idea. 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 usually on German and foreign levels. either his performs and his drama thought have motivated such writers as Goethe, Schiller, Hebbel, Hauptmann, Ibsen, Strindberg, Schnitzler, and Brecht. Addressing an viewers starting from graduate scholars to pro students, this quantity introduces Lessing's existence and instances and locations him in the broader context of the ecu Enlightenment. It discusses his pathbreaking dramas, his both progressive theoretical, serious, and aesthetic writings, his unique fables, his cutting edge paintings in philosophy and theology, and his major contributions to Jewish emancipation. the amount concludes through analyzing the reception of Lessing and his oeuvre in Nazi Germany, within the former East and West Germanys, and in modern severe thought. individuals: 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 info for A Companion to the Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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Nonetheless, he sought out a position as secretary to a Prussian army officer during the last and longest struggle for Silesia, the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). That war and its aftermath constitute the backdrop for Lessing’s best-known comedy, Minna von Barnhelm (1767). German thought of the eighteenth century was profoundly influenced by the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement that found its beginnings in ideas circulating in England and France during the seventeenth century. These included British Empiricism, founded by John Locke (1632–1704), and Continental Rationalism, represented by René Descartes (1596–1650) and developed further by such thinkers as Baruch 16 BARBARA FISCHER AND THOMAS C.

When a human is capable of being virtuous for the sake of virtue and “will do good because it is good,” as he notes in paragraph 85, then the ultimate stage of mature autonomy is reached, an autonomy aware of its own limitations and acknowledging that ultimate truth is for God alone.

In 1778, he published Ernst und Falk. Gespräche für Freymäurer (Ernst and Falk: Conversations for Freemasons, 1778/1780), containing five dialogues that analyze the origins of the Masonic movement and its contemporary condition. Lessing had joined the Freemasons in Hamburg several years earlier in 1771, and was deeply disappointed by the gap between the theory and reality of the lodges. ”50 The interlocutors Ernst and Falk discuss 32 BARBARA FISCHER AND THOMAS C. FOX the necessary restrictions on personal freedom that states impose upon their subjects, and how one might lessen those restrictions.

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