Drama

The Historical Experience in German Drama: From Gryphius to by Alan Menhennet

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By Alan Menhennet

In what's nonetheless the traditional survey of German old drama, Das deutsche Geschichtsdrama (1952), Friedrich Sengle is familiar with "historical drama" as that during which goal background is mixed with an concept that's the foundation of its dramatic coherence and strength. this concept necessarily turns into the engine of a dramatic motion, inclining the theatergoer to turn into totally engaged with dramatic characters in a dramatic current, instead of with "real" figures in a background. Such performs (for example Schiller's Maria Stuart) may well stay commonly "true to history," however the event they manage to pay for is usually no longer ancient; that's, it can be emotionally and intellectually compelling, however it aren't old within the feel of inflicting us, in our current, to develop into engaged with our dating with prior figures and occasions and their persevered relevance for us. Alan Menhennet identifies and analyzes examples of German drama which are ancient within the stricter feel: not just by way of the provenance of the fabric, but in addition in that, whereas closing dramatic in nature, they do express a historic adventure. via a serious survey extending from the 17th century to the 20 th, within the contexts of literary background, the philosophy of background, and German historical past from the Thirty Years' warfare to the second one international battle, Menhennet presents a supplement to Sengle's still-valuable learn. significant figures handled comprise Gryphius, Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Grillparzer, Hebbel, Schnitzler, and Brecht. there isn't any competing paintings in English.Alan Menhennet is Professor Emeritus of German on the collage of Newcastle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, united kingdom. he's writer of Grimmelshausen the Storyteller (Camden apartment, 1997).a href="http://www.camden-house.com/pdfs/hegd.pdf">Click the following to view the introduction/a> (PDF dossier 64KB)

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Extra resources for The Historical Experience in German Drama: From Gryphius to Brecht (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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The concept of history as “fact” is what underlies the concern of many authors of the time for historical fidelity and their reluctance to use the “poetic freedom” given already by Aristotle. ” “Nature,” rather than history, decides what is probable (that is, consonant with truth). ” The dramatist must make out of the isolated “members” of history a “whole” that mirrors the rational (and therefore moral) 17 order of God’s creation. The mere fact that something is historically documented does not make it aesthetically acceptable.

Adalbert von Keller (reprint: Hildesheim: Olms, 1973), 66. Ayrer, who followed in the footsteps of Hans Sachs, wrote his plays at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There is no room to pursue the comparison between Ayrer and Gryphius further here, but it may perhaps be noted in passing that much of the apparatus for a historical contemplation of events through what we have called “suspension” of dramatic time, can be detected in embryo in Ayrer (the demise of Amulius, for example, is described by Numitorius as a “Rach” sent by the divine powers [66]), but this element remains theatrically undeveloped and there is little sense of the interpenetration of the temporal and eternal.

The pronouncedly “epic” method by which the author proceeds is well illustrated by the prologue to the Comedia vom König Edwarto dem Dritten where “Jahn Clam” first summarises the plot, then announces: “Wie sich das aber als zutragen Wern euch jetzt die Personen sagen Die nach mir wollen kommen ein” (Dramen III, 1927–28), or by that to the Erbauung der Stadt Rom: “So wöll wir euch jtzt recetirn / Die schön Histori . . ” (Dramen I, 17). 2: The Age of Enlightenment: Aufklärung A ENLIGHTENMENT, in Germany, had to share the eighteenth century with an opposing tendency which can be called in broad terms “Romantic,” we can reasonably say it enjoyed the ascendancy until the early 1770s.

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