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A New and Complete Translation

Editorial Notes — Essays 41-50

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Essay 41

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 [41.1] Actually published 22 December 1767.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 [41.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 [41.3] “Give way, Roman writers, give way, you Greeks / Something greater than Oedipus is being born.”

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 [41.4] This ode to Maffei’s Merope by Leonardo Adami (1690–1719) modifies a pair of lines from the Elegies (Book II, poem 34b, l. 41–2) by Sextus Propertius (c. 55–c. 16 BCE), elegiac poet of ancient Rome; Adami puts “Oedipode” (Oedipus) in the place of “Iliade” (Iliad).

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 [41.5] “Lettre à Monsieur le Marquis Scipion Maffei, auteur de la Mérope Italienne, et de beaucoup d’autres ouvrages célèbres” [“A Letter to the Marquis Scipio Maffei, author of the Italian Mérope and many other famous works”] (1744). See Vrooman and Godden 100–7, 159–62, 216–33.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 [41.6] Here, and throughout this essay, Lessing loosely paraphrases from Voltaire’s preface. See “Lettre à Maffei” 225–6; “A Letter to Maffei” 255–6.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 [41.7] Both the “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” [“A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire”] (1748) and the “Réponse de M. de Voltaire à M. de La Lindelle” [“The Answer of M. de Voltaire to Mr. de La Lindelle”] (1748) were published with Mérope.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 [41.8] M. de La Lindelle was indeed a pseudonym employed by Voltaire in order to address criticism of Mérope; both letters listed above were written by Voltaire. See Vrooman and Godden 155–59, 234.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 [41.9] The Roman god Janus was represented with two faces, one looking forward and the other back; the term “Janus-faced” now connotes insincerity or deceitfulness.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 [41.10] “Lettre à Maffei” 216–17; “A Letter to Maffei” 244–5.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 [41.11] “Lettre à Maffei” 225–6; “A Letter to Maffei” 256–57.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 [41.12] Lessing provides the original French in his footnote; for an English translation see “Réponse de M. de Voltaire à M. de La Lindelle” 242–43, “The Answer of M. de Voltaire to Mr. de La Lindelle” 275. Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636–1711): French poet and leading literary critic, author of the widely influential neoclassical treatise L’Art poétique (1674). Rather than use a ring, Voltaire uses armor as a recognition device. Voltaire also mentions Maffei’s use of a ring in his preface (see “Lettre à Maffei” 225; “A Letter to Maffei” 255).

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 [41.13] “Lettre à Maffei” 225; “A Letter to Maffei” 255–6. Belles Nippes: fancy clothes.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 [41.14] Nestorian blather: in the Iliad, Nestor, elderly king of Pylos, counsels the Greeks with stories of his youth; “nestorian” now often implies a self-satisfied or senile prolixity.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 [41.15] “As in the poplar-shade a nightingale / Mourns her lost young…” Virgil, Georgics 4. 511–12. (Maffei would deny that he used these lines in Merope.)

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 [41.16] “Lettre à Maffei” 229–30; “A Letter to Maffei” 261.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 [41.17] “Lettre à Maffei” 230; “A Letter to Maffei” 261–2.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 [41.18] Horace, Ars Poetica 4: “What is a beautiful woman in the upper part terminates […] in an ugly fish below.”

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 [41.19] Persiflage: light, contemptuous mockery, ironic banter.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Essay 42

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 [42.1] Actually published 22 December 1767.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 [42.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Here Lessing analyzes Maffei’s Merope in response to Voltaire’s criticism of the play; see [41].

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 [42.3] Christoph Matthäus Pfaff (1686–1760) and Jacques Basnage de Beauval (1653–1723): Protestant theologians.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 [42.4] See Maffei, Merope in Teatro del Sig. marchese Scipione Maffei 10–11; for a (loose) English rendering see page 9 of Ayre’s translation.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 [42.5] See Maffei, Merope in Teatro del Sig. marchese Scipione Maffei xxxix; for the English see the fourth page of Maffei’s preface in Ayre’s translation.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 [42.6] Ismene: Merope’s confidant.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 [42.7] See Maffei, Merope in Teatro del Sig. marchese Scipione Maffei 62; for a (loose) English rendering see page 50 of Ayre’s translation.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 [42.8] Reference to the “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” [“A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire”] (1748), which was in fact written by Voltaire himself. See [41.7] and [41.8].

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 [42.9] Lessing’s citation here is loose. [In the English version of Lindelle’s letter this is on Dramatic Works III: 273]

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 [42.10] Unbeknownst to Lessing, Maffei had, in fact, responded to Voltaire by publishing the “Risposta alla Lettera del Signor di Voltaire” [“Answer to the Letter of M. de Voltaire”] in the 1745 Veronese edition of Merope; Maffei replies to every point Voltaire makes in the “Letter to Maffei” – and then scrupulously examines Voltaire’s Mérope. See Vrooman and Godden 354–5.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 Essay 43

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 [43.1] Actually published 22 December 1767.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 [43.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Lessing has just wondered, in [42], whether Maffei responded to criticisms of Merope made by Voltaire (both as himself and as the pseudonymous M. de La Lindelle).

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [43.3] Lessing’s translation is loose. See Voltaire, “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” 238, and “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire” 270.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 [43.4] “What doubt remains? Wretch that I am, and yet / I let myself be amused about a name, / As if there was no other Polidore.” Merope (Ayre trans.) 37.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 [43.5] Here again, Lessing’s translation is loose. Lessing provides a portion of the cited passage in his footnote; for the entire passage, see “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle” 239; “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle” 271. For the line by Voltaire included in Lessing’s footnote, see his “Lettre à Monsieur le Marquis Scipion Maffei” 225–6, “A Letter to the Marquis Scipio Maffei” 256. Lessing correctly suspects that Lindelle and Voltaire are the same person; see [41].

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [43.6] For the text included in Lessing’s footnote, see Maffei, Merope 53; for the English, see page 43 in Ayre’s translation.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 [43.7] Lessing again takes minor liberties with his French source. See “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle” 239–40; “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle” 272.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 [43.8] See Maffei, Merope 65. In Ayre’s translation, this speech is rendered: “Me, / My own service pays, I have enough reward / In seeing thee content. What wouldst thou give me? / I covet nothing: that alone to me/ would be most grateful none have pow’r to give. / The heavy weight of years I would have lighten’d, / Which lye upon my head, and crouch me down, / And press me so […]” (52–3).

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Essay 44

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 [44.1] Actually published 29 December 1767.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [44.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Beginning with [41], Lessing has been addressing criticisms of Maffei’s Merope made by Voltaire (both as himself and as the pseudonymous M. de La Lindelle).

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 [44.3] Lessing provides these lines in French in [41]. For the English see “The Answer of M. de Voltaire to Mr. de La Lindelle” 275.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 [44.4] Narbas: the old servant who takes Aegisthus from Messene; called Polydorus in Maffei’s play.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [44.5] Vulcan: Roman god of fire, forger of weapons for the gods.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 [44.6] Voltaire, “Réponse de M. de Voltaire à M. de La Lindelle” [“The Answer of M. de Voltaire to Mr. de La Lindelle”] 243.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 [44.7] See Voltaire, “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” 236, and “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire” 267–8.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 [44.8] For the Schlegel passage in Lessing’s footnote, see “Gedanken zur Aufnahme des dänischen Theaters” in Johann Elias Schlegels Werke 3: 294.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 [44.9] See Aubignac, François Hédelin, La Pratique du théâtre 93–4; The Whole Art of the Stage Bk 2 Ch. 6 p. 104.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 [44.10] “Unity of Place” is not discussed in Aristotle’s Poetics; the rule was established with the codification of French neoclassicism. Corneille: Lessing refers to Pierre Corneille’s discussion of Unity of Place in “Sur les trois unités” [“On the Three Unities”]; see P. Corneille, Trois discours sur le poème dramatique [Three Discourses on Dramatic Poetry] 101–27. For an English translation, see Discourses 236–7.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 [44.11] See Aubignac, François Hédelin, La Pratique du théâtre 94; for an English translation see The Whole Art of the Stage Bk 2 Ch. 6 p. 104.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Essay 45

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 [45.1] Actually published 29 December 1767.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 [45.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Here Lessing continues, from [41] a critique of Voltaire’s Mérope, according to French neoclassical rules of playwriting. Unity of time: rule established with the codification of French neoclassicism that originated from Aristotle’s statement in Part 5 of Poetics that “[t]ragedy endeavors, as far as possible, to confine itself to a single revolution of the sun, or but slightly to exceed this limit.”

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 [45.3] Pierre Corneille suggests a more flexible interpretation of the unity of time in “Sur les trois unités” [“On the Three Unities”]; see Trois discours sur le poème dramatique [Three Discourses on Dramatic Poetry] 101–27. For an English translation, see Discourses 235–6.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 [45.4] Mayfly: insect known for its extremely short life span.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [45.5] Lindelle: pseudonym of Voltaire. See “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” 236, and “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire” 267.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [45.6] P. Corneille, Trois Discours 105.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [45.7] Euricles: “Favorite” of Merope in Voltaire’s play.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [45.8] Peto veniam exeundi: “May I be excused?”

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 [45.9] Venez, Madame: “Come, Madame.”

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 [45.10] Erox: “Favorite” of Poliphontes, in Voltaire’s play.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 [45.11] “Let us all hurry to the temple, where my dishonor awaits me.”

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 [45.12] “You come to drag the victim to the altar.”

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 Essay 46

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 [46.1] Actually published 29 December 1767.

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 [46.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Beginning with [41], Lessing has been critiquing Voltaire’s Mérope according to French neoclassical rules of playwriting.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 [46.3] Unity of action: neoclassical rule limiting plays to a single plot; the only of the neoclassical unities actually drawn from Aristotle’s Poetics (Part VIII). Lessing discusses Voltaire’s treatment of unity of place in [44], and unity of time in [45].

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 [46.4] Lindelle: pseudonym of Voltaire. Here and in the lines that directly follow, Lessing is paraphrasing from “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” 240; “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire” 272–73.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 [46.5] This speech is in fact from III.i, rather than III.ii. See Maffei, Merope 37. For the English, see page 30 of the Ayre translation. “Lindelle” describes the interactions between Merope and Polyphontes as “scènes d’écolier” (“school boy scenes”). See “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle” 239; “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle” 271.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 [46.6] Voltaire, Mérope 259. In the Francklin translation: “heav’n / by slow and solemn steps, may bring down vengeance” (17).

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 [46.7] Voltaire, Mérope 260. Francklin translates: “It must be so; this crime, and I have done” (18).

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 [46.8] For the passage in Lessing’s footnote, see Voltaire, Mérope 258. For the English, see page 17 of the Francklin translation.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 [46.9] For the passage in Lessing’s footnote, see Maffei, Merope 33. For the English, see page 27 of the Ayre translation.

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 [46.10] Lessing paraphrases here. See “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle” 237; “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle” 269.

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 Essay 47

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 [47.1] Actually published 29 December 1767.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 [47.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. Beginning with [41], Lessing has been addressing criticisms of Maffei’s Merope made by Voltaire (both as himself and as the pseudonymous M. de La Lindelle). Here Lessing supports his statement, made at the end of [46], that Voltaire’s Merope is as much a “cannibal” (i.e. savage) as Maffei’s.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 [47.3] In [39] and [40] Lessing discusses the relationship between Hyginus’s fables and Cresphontes, Euripides’ lost version of the Merope story.

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 [47.4] See [44].

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 [47.5] For the passage in Lessing’s footnote, see Voltaire, Mérope 265–66. For the English, see page 22–3 of the Francklin translation.

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 [47.6] Chariton (fl. 1st century CE): ancient Greek novelist whose romance Chaereas and Callirhoë was published by Dutch classical scholar Jacques Philippe d’Orville (1696–1751) in 1750 as Charitonis Aphrodisiensis de Chaerea et Callirrhoë amatoriam narrationum [The Love Stories of Chareas and Callirhoë, by Chariton of Aphrodisias].

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 [47.7] Both here and below, when Lessing cites Euripides, he is in fact referencing Hyginus, whose 137th fable may have summarized Euripides’ Cresphontes.

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 [47.8] See [40].

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 [47.9] Per combinazioni d’accidenti: through a series of coincidences; see Maffei, Merope in Teatro del Sig. marchese Scipione Maffei xxxix.

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 Essay 48

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 [48.1] Actually published 5 January 1768.

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 [48.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. In [47], Lessing criticizes both Maffei and Voltaire for hiding Aegisthus’s true identity, which, he argues, lessens the emotional effect for the spectator; Lessing extrapolates from available sources that in Euripides’ version of the story Aegisthus’s identity is known from the start.

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 [48.3] Lessing’s quotation of Diderot combines several disparate passages in the French theorist’s 1758 treatise De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm, published as an addendum to his comedy Le Père de Famille [The Father of the Family]. For the passages Lessing cites, see De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm 291–7; an excerpted English translation can be found in “Discourse on Dramatic Poetry” 64–5. Lessing draws from his own 1760 translation of Diderot in Das Theater des Herrn Diderot [The Theater of M. Diderot], which is largely idiomatic rather than “mechanically literal” (see Nisbet 273); the page number he refers his reader to in his footnote is in volume 2 of that work. Significant alterations made by Lessing in this excerpt are noted below.

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 [48.4] In Diderot’s treatise, a hypothetical reader asks “Ce sont donc les personnages qu’il faut avoir en vue?” (“Then it is the characters we must keep in mind?”), to which the author responds “Je le crois.” (“I think so”). (Diderot, De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm 292). Lessing follows Diderot’s original in his 1781 reissue of his translation.

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 [48.5] Diderot’s text reads: “Le Poëte me ménage, par le secret, un instant de surprise; il m’eut exposé par la confidence à une longue inquiétude” (“By keeping the secret the poet treats me to an instant of surprise; by confiding it, he would have exposed me to prolonged anxiety”). (De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm, 293).

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 [48.6] Diderot’s final sentence in fact reads: “C’est ainsi que vous produirez en moi une attente violente de ce qu’ils deviendront, lorsq’ils pourront comparer ce qu’ils sont avec ce qu’ils ont fait ou voulu faire” (“This is how you produce in me a violent expectation of what they will become when they are able to compare what they are with what they have done or wanted to do”). (De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm 297).

94 Leave a comment on paragraph 94 0 [48.7] In Euripides: more properly, in Hyginus, whose 137th fable may have summarized Euripides’ Cresphontes. “Web of little artifices”: a loose reference to Diderot, who writes that the drama is “un tissu de loix particulieres dont on a fait des préceptes généraux” (“a tissue of particular rules, from which general precepts have been drawn”). (De la poésie dramatique, à Monsieur Grimm 298.)

95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 [48.8] See Aubignac, François Hédelin, La Pratique du théâtre 147; and The Whole Art of the Stage 104 (Book 4, Ch. 1).

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 [48.9] Aristotle refers to Euripides as the “most tragic” of playwrights in Poetics (Part XIII).

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 [48.10] The eighteenth century saw the emergence of multiple genres, such as Diderot’s genre sérieux (serious drama), which challenged the strict separation of dramatic forms. Here, however, Lessing’s purpose is to challenge the efficacy of rigid neoclassical rules, rather than to advocate for a specific mixed or intermediate genre.

98 Leave a comment on paragraph 98 0 Essay 49

99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 [49.1] Actually published 5 January 1768.

100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 [49.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. In [47] and [48], Lessing faults both Maffei and Voltaire for deviating from their classical source material by hiding Aegisthus’s true identity; here Lessing continues, from [48], a defense of Euripides’ prologues, which had been criticized by modern critics for revealing the plot in advance.

101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 [49.3] Ion, Hecuba: tragedies by Euripides.

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 [49.4] Creusa, Queen of Athens (1754): an adaptation by English playwright and poet laureate William Whitehead (1715–85).

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 [49.5] Miserable catastrophe: unhappy ending (not all Greek tragedies ended unhappily). See Aristotle, Poetics (Part XIII). Stagirite: Aristotle was born in Stagira, Macedonia.

104 Leave a comment on paragraph 104 0 [49.6] Narbas: in Voltaire’s Mérope, the old servant who takes Aegisthus from Messene.

105 Leave a comment on paragraph 105 0 [49.7] Lessing refers to the play’s printed form, in which characters’ names precede their lines. This criticism, of course, is not strictly fair. Lessing has been analyzing audience reception, but here (and for the remainder of this essay), he shifts to a discussion of the reader’s experience.

106 Leave a comment on paragraph 106 0 [49.8] Francklin’s translation: “Knowst thou ought of Narbas, / Or of Aegisthus? Never hath that name / Yet reach’d thine ear? What rank, condition, friends, / Who was thy father?” (28). For the full exchange between mother and son, see Voltaire, Mérope 271.

107 Leave a comment on paragraph 107 0 [49.9] Francklin’s translation: “Polycletes, madam, / A poor old man: to Narbas, or Aegisthus, / Of whom thou speak’st, I am a stranger” (28).

108 Leave a comment on paragraph 108 0 Essay 50

109 Leave a comment on paragraph 109 0 [50.1] Actually published 5 January 1768.

110 Leave a comment on paragraph 110 0 [50.2] Lessing continues his discussion, which extends from [36] to [50], of Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope and its relationship to Maffei’s original. For the plot of Mérope, see Robertson 86–7. In [47] and [48], Lessing faults both Maffei and Voltaire for deviating from their classical source material by hiding Aegisthus’s true identity; in [49] Lessing points out that in Voltaire’s play Aegisthus’s name appears in the list of characters and above his lines, thus presumably spoiling the suspense for the reader.

111 Leave a comment on paragraph 111 0 [50.3] Giulio Cesare Becelli (1686–1750): Veronese scholar and critic; provided a preface to Maffei’s Merope. See “Al lettore” [“To the Reader”] in Teatro del Sig. marchese Sciopone Maffei xxvii.

112 Leave a comment on paragraph 112 0 [50.4] See “Preface to the Hamburg Dramaturgy” for Lessing’s original intentions. Lessing ceases to discuss acting and actors’ performances after [25], presumably due to pressure from the Hamburg National Theater company members. The focus of the Hamburg Dramaturgy would continue to shift as the theater company began to fail, publication difficulties ensued, and Lessing became more engrossed with his studies of antiquity.

113 Leave a comment on paragraph 113 0 [50.5] Aristotle, Poetics (Part XVIII).

114 Leave a comment on paragraph 114 0 [50.6] The title of Euripides’ lost play is not Merope, but Cresphontes; its plot may have been summarized in “Merope,” the 137th fable of Hyginus.

115 Leave a comment on paragraph 115 0 [50.7] Pamise: the Pamisos, a river in Messenia.

116 Leave a comment on paragraph 116 0 [50.8] Narbas: in Voltaire’s Mérope, the old servant who takes Aegisthus from Messene.

117 Leave a comment on paragraph 117 0 [50.9] Johann Ballhorn: printer in Lübeck so famous for introducing errors into his editions that “to ballhorn” became a term for making detrimental “improvements” to a text.

118 Leave a comment on paragraph 118 0 [50.10] Corpus delicti = “body of the offense,” evidence.

119 Leave a comment on paragraph 119 0 [50.11] Euricles: “favorite” of Merope, in Voltaire’s play.

120 Leave a comment on paragraph 120 0 [50.12] Lindelle: pseudonym of Voltaire. See “Lettre de M. de La Lindelle à M. de Voltaire” 239–40, “A Letter from M. de La Lindelle to M. de Voltaire” 271–72.

121 Leave a comment on paragraph 121 0 [50.13] “this long stretch of five acts which is tremendously difficult to complete without episodes”: Voltaire uses this phrase to issue a backhanded compliment to Maffei. See the “Lettre à Monsieur la Marquis Scipion Maffei” 217, “A Letter to the Marquis Scipio Maffei” 245.

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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/hamburg/editorial-notes-essays-41-50/