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A New and Complete Translation

Editorial Notes — Essays 51-60

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Essay 51

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 [51.1] Actually published 5 January 1768.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 [51.2] The Married Philosopher, see [12]; The New Agnes, see [10].

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 [51.3] Lessing refers to L’Observateur des Spectacles [The Theatrical Observer] (1762) by French playwright and critic François Antoine de Chevrier (1721–62). Le Jaloux Désabusé [The Disillusioned Jealous One] (1709): five-act comedy in verse by French playwright Jean-Galbert de Campistron (1656–1723).

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 [51.4] From Act 2, Sc. 2 of Le Jaloux Désabusé (see Campistron 145–7). Compare to Act 1, Sc. 2 of Destouches’s play (see The Married Philosopher, 3–6). Tr. note: we have translated Lessing’s rendition of the text, which is a very free adaptation of the French rhymed couplets into German prose.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 [51.5] Arist (Ariste), Melite (Mélite), the Marquis: the married philosopher, his wife, and her would-be suitor. (In the English translation, the characters are renamed Young Bellefleur, Melissa, and Sir Harry Sprightly, respectively.)

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 [51.6] Lessing refers here to the luxury edition of Detouches’s works, Oeuvres Dramatiques de Néricault Destouches, 4 vols. (Paris: Imprimerie royale, 1757).

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Essay 52

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 [52.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 [52.2] Der Triumph der guten Frauen (1748): five-act comedy in prose by J. E. Schlegel. For the plot, see Robertson (87).

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 [52.3] Der geschäftige Müßiggänger (1741): five-act comedy in prose by J. E. Schlegel, published in 1743 the fourth volume of J. C. Gottsched’s Deutsche Schaubühne.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 [52.4] Der Geheimnißvolle (1746; pub. 1747): five-act comedy in prose by J. E. Schlegel. In a prologue to the play, Schlegel cites Molière’s Misanthrope as the model for his main character (see J. E. Schlegel, Der Geheimnißvolle 185–6).

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 [52.5] Lessing refers to Der Mistrauische [sic] [The Suspicious Man] (1760): five-act comedy in prose by J. F. Cronegk.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 [52.6] The play was produced in Hamburg in 1751.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 [52.7] Moses Mendelssohn, in his letter of 31 January 1765. See Mendelssohn, Briefe, die neueste Litteratur betreffend, Part XXI: 132–3.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 [52.8] Mendelssohn, Briefe XXI: 133–5.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 [52.9] Mendelssohn, Briefe XXI: 135–6.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Essay 53

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 [53.1]Actually published winter of 1768.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 [53.2] Cénie, see [20]; The Man of the Clock, see [22].

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 [53.3] Claude-Henri de Fusée, abbé de Voisenon (1708–75): French playwright and author of libertine novels.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 [53.4] “But the author left 81 of the original verses in their entirety.”

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 [53.5] See Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lettre à d’Alembert Sur Les Spectacles 213–14; Politics and the Arts: Letter to M. d’Alembert on the Theatre 103.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 [53.6] “And it is not to a woman that I refuse the talents of men, but to women.” See Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lettre à d’Alembert 100; Politics and the Arts: Letter to M. d’Alembert 48.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 [53.7] Rousseau writes: “J’honore d’autant plus volontiers ceux de l’auteur de Cénie en particulier, qu’ayant à me plaindre de ses discours, je lui rends un hommage pur et désintéressé, comme tous les éloges sortis de ma plume” (100). In Bloom’s translation: “I am all the more willing to praise the talents of the author of Cénie in particular, because I have suffered from her words and can thus render her a pure and disinterested homage, as are all those issued from my pen” (48).

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 [53.8] Not Charles Simon Favart, but rather his collaborator and wife, Marie-Justine-Benoîte Favart (née Duronceray) (1727–72), a celebrated actress and singer.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 [53.9] Chevrier claims that the Abbé de Voisenon, rather than Marie-Justine-Benoîte Favart, was the author of Annette and Lubin (1762), a one-act vaudeville comedy in verse. A published edition from 1782 lists Favart and Voisenon as co-authors, and Favart as the actress playing the lead role.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 [53.10] L’École des femmes (1662): five-act comedy in verse. The translation used was Die Frauen-Schule (1752) by F. S. Bierling.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 [53.11] L’École des maris [The School for Husbands] (1661): three-act comedy in verse.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 [53.12] The Maxims of Marriage, or the Duties of the Married Woman, with her Daily Practice: a “useful tract” that Arnolphe, the main character, gives to Agnès, his intended bride. See Molière, The School for Wives 130–1.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 [53.13] Abbé Nicolas-Charles-Joseph Trublet (1697–1770): essayist and literary theorist, known for his friendship with de la Motte and with Bernard le Bouyer (or Bovier) de Fontenelle (1657–1757), playwright, moralist, and philosopher of the French Enlightenment (and also the nephew of Pierre and Thomas Corneille). See Trublet, Essais IV: 222.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 [53.14] La précaution inutile [The Useless Precaution]: a comical novella (set in Spain) from the Nouvelles tragi-comiques (1655–57) by the French playwright and novelist Paul Scarron (1610–60). Le piacevoli notti [The Nights of Straparola] (lit. “Pleasant Nights”) (1550–3), a popular two-part collection of novellas by Italian author Gianfrancesco Straparola (c.1480–1557), which introduced numerous folktales into European literature; following Boccaccio’s Decameron, a group of men and women tells stories over a succession of nights – Lessing refers to the fourth story told on the fourth night (see Straparola 199–207).

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 [53.15] See Voltaire, La Vie de Molière 419–20.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 [53.16] Molière responded to his critics in the form of a one-act prose comedy, the Critique d’école des femmes [The Critique of the School for Wives] (1663), which Lessing quotes in his footnote (see Molière, The Critique of the School for Wives 199).

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [53.17] Horace: a handsome younger man who pursues Agnès.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 Essay 54

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 [54.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [54.2] School for Mothers, see [21]; The Earl of Essex, see [22].

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 [54.3] domestica facta: domestic affairs; a reference to the Ars Poetica [The Art of Poetry] of Horace (see Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica 474–5).

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 [54.4] John Banks (c. 1652/3–1700): English playwright.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 [54.5] Calprenede, see [22.7]. Claude Boyer (1618–98): French poet and playwright. The younger Corneille: Thomas Corneille, see [22.6].

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 [54.6] Philotas (1605): tragedy by English poet, historian, and playwright Samuel Daniel (1562–1619). Lessing quotes from a later 1611 edition; his assertion about the play’s relationship to the historical Essex is drawn from Theophilus Cibber, who writes, “it was reported that the character of Philotas was drawn for [sic] the unfortunate earl of Essex, which obliged the author to vindicate himself from this charge, in an apology printed at the end of the play” (see The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland 147–8) (Lessing slightly misrenders Cibber’s title in his footnote). Contemporary scholarship is disinclined to believe Daniel’s disavowal (see Bergeron 100–4).

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [54.7] Various sources have been suggested for Banks’s play, beginning with The Secret History of the most renowned Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Essex (1680), which was in fact a translation of Thomas Corneille’s Comte d’Essex (1678). Another suggested source, an anonymous chapbook entitled History of the Most Renowned Queen Elizabeth and her Great Favourite, the Earl of Essex (1700?), was originally believed to have been published in 1650, but is actually an abbreviated version of The Secret History. See Wykes 79–81.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 [54.8] Tr. note: The lengthy quote that follows is Lessing’s translation of the plot description of The Earl of Essex from the second volume of the anonymous compilation A Companion to the Theatre (99–105). (Lessing also slightly misrenders this title). We have restored the original English (with original orthography and punctuation) except where Lessing deviates significantly from his source, in which cases our translation of Lessing’s alteration is interpolated in square brackets, and the difference explained in the notes.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 [54.9] Tr. note: the bracketed text is a translation of Lessing’s free expansion of the scene; the (far briefer) original English reads: “like Reproaches; on which the Queen, inflamed with Wrath, gives him a Blow. He lays his Hand on his Sword, and it is in vain that” (A Companion to the Theatre II: 102).

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [54.10] Tr. note: the original reads: “there to wait their Trial. But the Queen, in spite of all can be said to her” (A Companion to the Theatre II: 103).

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 [54.11] Tr. note: this last sentence is Lessing’s addition, and not in the original; see A Companion to the Theatre II, 103.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Essay 55

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 [55.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 [55.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks. Here he continues the play’s synopsis, drawn from A Companion to the Theatre II: 99–105, so that his reader might compare it to Thomas Corneille’s Le Comte d’Essex (1678) (passage cited in this essay begins on II: 103). We have restored the original English except where Lessing deviates significantly from his source, in which case a retranslation of Lessing’s changes back into English is interpolated in square brackets.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 [55.3] Tr. note: in the original, the following is in place of the text in brackets: “Instead of bearing his Message to the Queen, she represents him as insolent, disdaining to receive any Favour from her; and daring all that her Power and Indignation can inflict: To heighten her Displeasure against him, an unlucky Accident contributes: His Wife hearing he was condemn’d to die, quite desperate with Grief, flies to the Queen, reveals the Secret of their Marriage, and begs her Husband’s Life. Never did publick Indignation, or secret Despair rise to a greater Height than in the Behaviour, and Breast of this Princess; she spurns the Countess from her, and” (A Companion to the Theatre II: 103–4).

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 [55.4] For the relationship between the Essex of Banks and that of Corneille, see [54.7].

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 [55.5] See [22] and [23].

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 [55.6] In Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid (1636), the play’s hero fights a duel to avenge his father’s honor after the latter receives a slap to the face.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 [55.7] See Voltaire, “Le Cid” in Commentaires sur Corneille (II) 60.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 [55.8] Georges de Scudéry (1601–67): French playwright, poet, novelist, and rival of Pierre Corneille. François Le Métel de Boisrobert (1592–1662): French abbé, playwright, and poet. Both were participants in a famous literary controversy sparked by the success of Le Cid known as “Le Querelle du Cid” (“The Quarrel of The Cid”).

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 [55.9] This is D’Aubignac’s definition; see Aubignac, François Hédelin, La Pratique du théâtre 133; The Whole Art of the Stage Bk 4 Ch. 5 p. 145–6.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [55.10] See note 13 below.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [55.11] Lessing’s footnote refers to Robert Garnier (c.1545–90), lawyer, playwright, and poet, whose Bradamante (1582; originally misdated by Lessing as 1682) is considered the first important French tragicomedy; for Lessing’s first quotation see Aubignac, François Hédelin, La Pratique du théâtre 133; The Whole Art of the Stage Bk 4 Ch. 5 p. 144–5. Lessing’s comment about “historians of French theater” refers to the brothers Parfaict; his second quotation draws selectively from their Histoire du théâtre français 3: 454–6.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [55.12] In Plautus’s play, Jupiter sleeps with Alcmena, by impersonating her husband (the titular Amphitryon) who is away at war; Jupiter’s efforts are supported by Mercury, who disguises himself as Amphitryon’s slave Sosia. For a further plot synopsis, see Plautus, “Introduction to Amphitryon, or Jupiter in Disguise.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [55.13] From Plautus’s prologue to Amphitryon: “I’ll make this to be a mixture – a Tragi-comedy. For me to make it entirely to be a Comedy, where Kings and Gods appear, I do not deem right. What then? Since here the servant has a part as well, just as I said, I’ll make it to be a Tragi-comedy” (Trans. Henry Thomas Riley, The Comedies of Plautus II: 5).

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 Essay 56

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 [56.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 [56.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks; here he continues, from [55], to address criticism of Banks’s choice to include a moment in which the Queen Elizabeth slaps the titular character.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 [56.3] “Les acteurs mêmes sont très embarrassés à donner ce soufflet, ils font le semblant.” (The actors themselves are too embarrassed to give the blow; they pretend to do so.) Voltaire, “Le Cid” in Commentaires sur Corneille (II) 60.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 [56.4] Diego: Don Diègue, the father of Don Rodrigue (Rodrigo), later called “The Cid”.

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 [56.5] Don Diègue is struck by the younger Don Gomès (Gomez), the Count of Gormas.

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 [56.6] To avenge the insult done to his father, Rodrigue duels with – and kills – Don Gomès, the father of the woman he loves (Chimène).

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 [56.7] Pundonor: “punto de honor” (point of honor).

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 [56.8] These reparations appease no soul. / Whoever receives them has nothing, whoever makes them, slanders himself / And the most common effect of all these agreements, / Is to dishonor two men instead of one.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 [56.9] Louis XIII’s 1626 edict against dueling was one of many attempts by French monarchs to control dueling, beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing into the eighteenth.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 [56.10] These lines, suppressed by Corneille, do not appear in modern editions of the play. The first mention of these lines, in 1637, is slightly different from Lessing’s. Voltaire, in his edited collection of Corneille’s works, gives them as, “Reparations appease no soul; / Whoever receives them wrongly, defames himself. / And the most common effect from such agreements, / Is to dishonor two men instead of one;” see Voltaire “Le Cid” in Commentaires sur Corneille (II) 63–4.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 [56.11] This information and that which follows is drawn from Hume, The History of England 4: 483–4.

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 [56.12] Queen Elizabeth withdrew from Essex his monopoly on the import of sweet wines; see Hume 505–6.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 Essay 57

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 [57.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 [57.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks, in comparison to Thomas Corneille’s Le Comte d’Essex (1678). Here he continues to address criticism of Banks’s choice to include a moment in which the Queen Elizabeth slaps the titular character; see [55] and [56].

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 [57.3] Suffolk: the “young sister of Suffolk” is a fictional creation of Corneille. Here Lessing appears to be drawing from Voltaire’s criticism; see Voltaire, “Comte d’Essex” in Commentaires sur Corneille (I) 1008.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 [57.4] Nottingham: the Countess of Nottingham; in Banks’s play, she has been rejected by Essex. Tr. note: Banks’s English original is written in an elevated and formal blank verse; Lessing’s German prose translation uses much plainer diction, a choice he explains [59]. Because Lessing discusses his translation choices later, we have re-translated Lessing’s adaptation back into English. To compare this version to the original, see Banks, The Unhappy Favourite: or, the Earl of Essex 3.1.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 [57.5] Tr. note: here the Queen has a long speech, which Lessing omits.

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 [57.6] Rutland: Countess, secretly married to Essex.

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 Essay 58

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 [58.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 [58.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks; here he continues, from [57], his translation and discussion of Act 3, Scene 1. Rutland: a countess.

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 [58.3] Tr. note: on the translation, see [57.4]. In the following, Lessing not only changes the tone and diction of the text, but also departs from Banks’s original dialogue in significant ways. For comparison, see Banks, The Unhappy Favourite 3.1.

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 Essay 59

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 [59.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 [59.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks; regarding Lessing’s adaptation of Banks’s text, see translator’s note [57.4].

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 [59.3] Ampullae & sesquipedalia verba: from Horace, Ars poetica [The Art of Poetry]; translated by Fairclough as “bombast and Brobdingnagian words” (459). Diderot uses the same phrase in his “De la Poésie Dramatique [Entretiens sur le Fils naturel]” [“Conversations on The Natural Son”] (1757) just before the passage Lessing cites in the next paragraph. See Diderot, “De la Poésie Dramatique [Entretiens sur le Fils naturel]” 190; Selected Writings on Art and Literature 34. The “Entretiens” contain many of Diderot’s ideas regarding the form and function of emerging genres such as “serious drama” and bourgeois tragedy, and influenced Lessing’s own theories of drama and performance, including those outlined here. For Lessing’s translation of this text and others, see Das Theater des Herrn Diderot [The Theater of M. Diderot] (1760) in Werke und Briefe 5/1: 10–230.

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 [59.4] “De la Poésie Dramatique [Entretiens sur le Fils naturel]” 190–91; English translation taken from Geoffrey Bremner in Diderot, Selected Writings on Art and Literature 34–5.

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 [59.5] Hecuba: Euripidean tragedy (424 BCE).

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 [59.6] Pomposity and bombast: charges frequently leveled against the language of baroque tragedy.

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 [59.7] Lessing draws this and the following information from a review of Henry Jones’s Earl of Essex in the English literary journal The Monthly Review (March 1753: 225–29). Henry Jones (1721–70): Irish-born poet and playwright. Henry Brooke (1703–83): Irish-born novelist and playwright; his Earl of Essex, published in 1761, was previously performed in Dublin in 1749.

94 Leave a comment on paragraph 94 0 [59.8] Ben Jonson (1572?–1637): English playwright, poet, and literary critic. In The Monthly Review, the anonymous author provides the epilogue (by an unknown author) to Jones’s Essex, which contains the lines, “Can he believe th’example of Old Ben, / Who chang’d (like him) the trowel for the pen, / will in his favour move your critic bowels?” (228). Jonson and Jones did indeed both begin as bricklayers.

95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 [59.9] James Ralph (1705?–62): (possibly) American-born English poet, playwright, and dramatic critic of indifferent success; later a historian and political writer. Authored The Fall of the Earl of Essex (1731).

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 [59.10] For Lessing’s footnote, see the Journal encyclopédique 11: 120–21.

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 Essay 60

98 Leave a comment on paragraph 98 0 [60.1] Actually published winter of 1768.

99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 [60.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks; at the end of [59], Lessing promises a discussion “in passing” of “a Spanish Essex.” This essay begins a long description and discussion of that play, in which Lessing often quotes at length (and not always accurately) from the play, whose full title Lessing provides in his footnote. Its author has subsequently been identified as Spanish playwright Antonio Coello (1611–52).

100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 [60.3] The play was produced in Madrid in 1633 by the company of Manuel Álvarez Vallejo.

101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 [60.4] For the quotations in Lessing’s footnote, see Coello 3.

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 [60.5] Ibid.

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 [60.6] Comic character: the gracioso (fool) was a stock character in seventeenth-century Spanish drama.

104 Leave a comment on paragraph 104 0 [60.7] For the first part of the footnote quotation, see Coello 1; the second part of the quotation appears on page 2.

105 Leave a comment on paragraph 105 0 [60.8] Coello 4.

106 Leave a comment on paragraph 106 0 [60.9] Duke of Alanzon: Hercule-François, duc d’Anjou, later duc d’Alençon (1554–84); youngest son of Henri II of France and Catherine de Médicis, brother to three kings of France, and suitor of Elizabeth I.

107 Leave a comment on paragraph 107 0 [60.10] “I made you owner (master) of my honor.” See Coello 5.

108 Leave a comment on paragraph 108 0 [60.11] Ibid. 6.

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