|
A New and Complete Translation

Editorial Notes – Essays 71-80

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Essay 71

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 [71.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 [71.2] Lessing continues, from [70], a critique of Voltaire’s comparison of Terence’s The Brothers with Molière’s The School for Husbands; for the plot of these plays, see [70.7] and [70.8]. Voltaire’s early schooling was at the Jesuit Collège of Louis-le-Grand in Paris (1704–11), where he received a classical education.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 [71.3] See Voltaire,“L’École des Maris” in La Vie de Molière 420.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 [71.4] Pamphila does in fact remain offstage.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 [71.5] “Throughout the entire play, each character is preserved – gentle Micio, severe Demea, the greedy pimp.” From the commentary on The Brothers by the Roman grammarian and rhetorician Aelius Donatus (4th c. BCE). See Donatus 240.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 [71.6] The quotation that Lessing provides in his footnote can be found in both Latin and English in Terence, Adelphi l. 859–60.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 [71.7] Terence, Adelphi l. 984-91

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 [71.8] “Here Terence shows that Demea pretends his character has changed, rather than that [Demea] has actually changed.” See Donatus 334.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 [71.9] For a direct translation of the Latin, see Terence, Adelphi l. 792–8.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 [71.10] “He seems to have calmed down a bit more quickly than is called for by even these uncertain circumstances. But this is also characteristic: for those who are angry with just cause often come quickly to logical reasoning, once they set aside their rage.” See Donatus 320.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 [71.11] “Watch not what is said, but with what gesture it is said, and you will see that Demea, at this point, has neither restrained his temper, nor come back to himself.” See Donatus 320.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Essay 72

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 [72.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 [72.2] In [70], Lessing begins a discussion of Terence’s comedy The Brothers, which he continues here; for a plot synopsis, see [70.14].

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 [72.3] Terence, Adelphi l. 835–53. For both the Latin and English, see Barsby’s translation (p. 346–9).

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 [72.4] Tr. note: for an English translation directly from the Latin text, see Barsby, 347–9.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 [72.5] “Demea speaks this line with such a facial expression that he seems to be smiling against his will. But then with ‘Unfortunately, I feel,’ he speaks again with an angry and bitter countenance.” See Donatus 322.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 [72.6] See [71.5].

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 [72.7] Anne Lefèvre Dacier (1647–1720): distinguished French classicist, renowned throughout Europe for her translations of Greek and Latin texts. With her husband, André Dacier, she produced the Delphin series of editions of Latin classics; her prose translation of Adelphi/Brothers, with accompanying dissertaton on Terence, appears in the three volume collection Les Comedies de Terence (1691); see Vol. 2: 251–445.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 [72.8] Tr. note: Lessing, in his original essay, subsequently quotes in his footnote from the German translation of Terence’s play by Johann Samuel Patzke (1727–87), which was published in Halle in 1753 in the volume Des Publius Terenzius Lustspiele aus dem lateinischen übersetzt [The Comedies of Publius Terentius, translated from the Latin]. Lessing’s aim is to demonstrate how wooden and unfunny that translation is; because his argument rests on subtle differences between his own German translation and that of Patzke, we refer the reader to the original rather than include another translation of the scene. See Patzke 447–8.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 [72.9] K. F. Romanus; see [70.6].

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 [72.10] Lysimon: Romanus’s name for Demea.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 [72.11] For this exchange, see Romanus 117.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 [72.12] Frontin: the servant of Lysimon’s nephew. (Terence’s original has two pairs of brothers; Romanus changes the younger set to cousins.)

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Essay 73

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 [73.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 [73.2] In [70], Lessing begins a discussion of Terence’s The Brothers; for a plot synopsis, see [70.7]. Here he continues, from [72], a comparison of Terence’s comedy with K. F. Romanus’s Die Brüder [The Brothers]; see [70.6].

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 [73.3] Lysimon: Romanus’s name for Terence’s Demea.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 [73.4] Romanus’s Die Brüder was repeated on August 11 and October 7, 1767, and on January 5, 1768 (in Hanover). Lessing resumes his discussion of the play in [96].

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 [73.5] See [70.6].

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 [73.6] Le dénouement imprévu (1727): one act prose comedy by Marivaux; first performed in 1724. The German translation, Der unvermuthete Ausgang, was by J. C. Krüger. Nanine: comedy by Voltaire; see [21].

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 [73.7] Peter (Pierre in Marivaux’s original): M. Argante’s gardener.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 [73.8] Richard der Dritte (1759/65): five-act tragedy by C. F. Weisse. Herzog Michel (1757): extremely popular one-act verse comedy by J. C. Krüger; see [83].

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [73.9] William Shakespeare’s Life and Death of King Richard III (c. 1593); the play was introduced in Germany through four anonymously translated scenes that appeared in the periodical Neue Erweiterungen der Erkenntnis und des Vergnügens [New Expansions of Knowledge and Pleasure] (1756). Scholars disagree as to whether Weisse’s claim is creditable.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 [73.10] See Weisse, 9.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 [73.11] Virgil’s apocryphal response to charges that he plagiarized Homer. See Donatus, The Life of Virgil, paragraph 46.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [73.12] Camera obscura (lit. dark room): boxlike device, a precursor to the photographic camera, which projected images of external objects onto a flat surface, used from the Renaissance onward as a composition tool for artists.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 [73.13] Here, and in the next paragraph, Lessing responds to German professor, editor, literary critic, and translator Christian Heinrich Schmid (1746–1800), author of Theorie der Poesie nach den neuesten Grundsätzen und Nachricht von den besten Dichtern nach den angenommenen Urtheilen [Theory of Poetry, according to the most recent principles, and Information about the Best Poets, according to accepted judgments] (1767). Schmid objected, in his Zusätze zur Theorie der Poesie: Sammlung 1 [Supplement to the Theory of Poetry: Anthology 1] (1767), to Lessing’s critical approach in the Hamburg Dramaturgy, complaining that Lessing focused on exposing authors’ errors, rather than on teaching audiences how to admire their works (see 1: 38). Schmid would continue his critique of Lessing in all four volumes of these “supplements;” in the third volume, Schmid defends himself at length against this essay, which he perceived as a personal attack (see 3: 74; 88–95). A critic of dubious merit, Schmid was criticized harshly not only by Lessing, but also Wieland, Herder, and Goethe, among others.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 [73.14] Schmid makes this accusation on page 45 of his first Zusätze (Lessing’s claim, in his footnote, to have “just now remembered” Schmid’s commentary seems rather disingenuous); for Lessing’s views on Amalia, see [20]. The end of this essay may also serve as an apologia to Weisse, Lessing’s childhood friend, for the harshness of the criticism that follows.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Essay 74

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 [74.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [74.2] Lessing continues his discussion, from [73], of C. F. Weisse’s Richard the Third. In this essay and in the six that follow, however, Lessing is less concerned with Weisse’s tragedy than he is with parsing Aristotle’s tragic theory. Lessing does not provide a systemic interpretation of Aristotle, either in the Hamburg Dramaturgy or elsewhere, and scholars disagree about the extent to which Lessing’s knowledge of Aristotle was authoritative.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 [74.3] Tr. note: The terms Lessing uses here for Aristotle’s eleos and phobos are Mitleid and Schrecken, which we translate here as “compassion” and “terror.” Because Lessing’s argument in this essay depends on his understanding of how one person can feel what another is feeling, the latinate term “compassion” seems a more suitable translation of Mitleid than either “pity,” the most common English translation, or “sympathy,” which in modern English usually connotes a feeling toward another person rather than a sharing of feelings. For more on the challenges of translating the term Mitleid, see [32.6] and Thomas Martinec’s essay “The Boundaries of ‘Mitleidsdramaturgie’: Some Clarifications.” Lessing discusses the term phobos (terror/fear) later in this essay.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 [74.4] See Aristotle’s Poetics (Part XIII).

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [74.5] Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (Crébillon père) (1674–1762): French playwright whose tragedies, modeled after Seneca, specialized in extreme violence and horror. In his preface to Atrée et Thyeste [Atreus and Thyestes] (1707), Crébillon specifically states that tragedy evokes pity through terror.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 [74.6] The philosopher: Aristotle.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 [74.7] Here Lessing translates Aristotle’s phobos as Furcht (fear), and not as Schrecken (terror). Lessing also makes this choice and defends it in the Briefwechsel über das Trauerspiel [Correspondence on Tragedy] (1755–57), taking issue with both Dacier’s French translation and the German translation of Curtius; see “Brief an Nicolai” [“Letter to Nicolai”] dated 2 Apr. 1757, Werke und Briefe 3: 715–16. “Terror” was the standard translation of phobos in eighteenth-century France and Germany. Given Lessing’s emphasis on Furcht, both here and in his earlier writing, it is curious that Lessing uses Schrecken (terror) in earlier essays of the Hamburg Dramaturgy (see, for example, [32]); this choice may be explained in part by the existence of the paired terms “pity and terror” as an established phrase in dramatic theory.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 [74.8] In his footnote, Lessing refers to Christian Ernst Schenk (1733–1807), who published his Komisches Theater [Comic Theater] (1759) anonymously. For the passage quoted by Lessing, see Schenk 35–6.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 [74.9] Letters on Sentiments: “Briefe über die Empfindungen,” first published by Moses Mendelssohn in 1755. This work, together with C. F. Nicolai’s Abhandlung vom Trauerspiel [Discourse on Tragedy] (1756), influenced Lessing’s thinking on theatrical affect in the Briefwechsel über das Trauerspiel [Correspondence on Tragedy] (1755–57). Mendelsohn revised his thoughts on the subject in the “Rhapsodie oder Zusätze zu den Briefen über die Empfindung” [“Rhapsody or Additions to the Letters on Sentiments”] in his Philosophische Schriften [Philosophical Writings] (1761), from which Lessing draws this quotation. See Mendelssohn, “Rhapsodie; oder, Zusätze zu den Briefen über die Empfindungen” in Philosophische Schriften 2: 4–6; for an alternate English translation of the passage, see Mendelssohn, “Rhapsody or Additions to the Letters on Sentiments” in Philosophical Writings 141–2.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 [74.10] Electra: titular Sophoclean tragic character.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 [74.11] Philoctetes: titular Sophoclean tragic character.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 [74.12] Oedipus: titular Sophocean tragic character. Monime, Mithridates: tragic characters from Racine’s Mithridate. Desdemona, Othello: from Shakespeare’s Othello.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 [74.13] Merope, Aegisthus: from Voltaire’s tragedy Mérope, which Lessing discusses over the course of fifteen essays, beginning with [36].

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Essay 75

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 [75.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 [75.2] In [74], Lessing begins his analysis of Aristotle’s statement in Poetics that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear); at the end of the essay, he cites Moses Mendelssohn’s thoughts on “mixed sentiments,” in which Mendelssohn argues that all tragic passions originate in compassion.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [75.3] André Dacier; see [37.14].

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [75.4] Lessing refers to Aristotle’s Rhetoric (divided into three books) and his Nicomachean Ethics (divided into ten books).

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [75.5] Stagirite: Aristotle was born in Stagira, Macedonia.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [75.6] The Greek line in Lessing’s footnote, and the passage that he quotes here in this essay, are from Rhetoric 2.5.12. Aemilius Portus’s Latin translation of the Greek reads, “Denique ut simpliciter loquar, formidabilia sunt, quaecunque simulac in aliorum potestatem venerunt, vel ventura sunt, miseranda sunt” [“Finally, to speak plainly, those fearful things become pitiable when they have come or are about to come into the sphere of other people”]. Lessing’s alternate suggestion reads “quaecunque simulac aliis evenerunt, vel eventura sunt” [“those things are fearful, when they have happened – or are about to happen – to others…”].

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 [75.7] Lessing’s emphasis on the familiarity of a character’s circumstances echoes eighteenth-century critics such as Marmontel and Diderot who advocated for the development of middle-class drama. See, for example, [14].

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 [75.8] For the quotation in Lessing’s footnote, see P. Corneille, “Sur le Poème Dramatique” [“On Dramatic Poetry”] in Trois discours sur le poème dramatique [Three Discourses on Dramatic Poetry] 10; for an English translation, see P. Corneille, “First Discourse on the Uses and Elements of Dramatic Poetry” 140.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 [75.9] In [2], Lessing critiques martyr-dramas, and specifically P. Corneille’s Polyeucte. Prusias, Phocas, Cleopatra: characters in, respectively, Nicomède (1651), Héraclius (1647), and Rodogune (1644). Lessing discusses Rodogune, and Cleopatra in particular, in [29] – [32].

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 [75.10] Here Lessing draws from P. Corneille’s second discourse, “Sur la Tragédie” [“On Tragedy”] in Trois discours 60; for an English translation of the passage, see P. Corneille, “Discourse on Tragedy” 8–9.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 Essay 76

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 [76.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 [76.2] In [74], Lessing begins his analysis of Aristotle’s statement in Poetics that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear); at the end of [75], he quotes Pierre Corneille’s view that Aristotle’s intention was not to assert that both fear and compassion needed to be present simultaneously for the cleansing of tragic emotion.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 [76.3] In his commentary accompanying his 1692 translation of Poetics, André Dacier sharply criticizes P. Corneille’s interpretation of Aristotle.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 [76.4] Tr. note: we translate Lessing’s term “vermischte Empfindung” as “mixed sensation;” see Guyer, “Eighteenth Century German Aesthetics” (Section 4: “Mendelssohn, Winckelmann, and Lessing: Mixed Emotions”).

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 [76.5] Tr. note: the term Lessing uses here, “Affekt,” is unusual, and appears to be a terminologically conscious choice, drawing on not just Aristotle but also Spinoza. See Goetschel, Spinoza’s Modernity: Mendelssohn, Lessing, and Heine (esp. Ch. 12). Hence, we retain the English cognate “affect” (and resist the temptation to narrow its definition through a term like “emotion.”)

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 [76.6] See Aristotle’s Poetics (Part XIII).

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 [76.7] hominibus gratum: that which is pleasing to people. ce que peut faire quelque plaisir: that which can give some pleasure (from Dacier’s translation).

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 [76.8] Theodore Goulston (c.1575–1632): English physician who published a Latin translation of Poetics in 1623, entitled Aristotelis de Poetica liber. Φιλανθρωπον: philanthropon. The Latin phrase quod humanitatis sensu tangat translates as “that which moves [a person] through a sense of humanity”; see Aristotelis de Poetica liber 166.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 [76.9] From Curtius’s commentary on his 1753 translation of Aristotle’s Poetics; see Curtius, Aristotoles Dichtkunst 191.

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 [76.10] Mendelssohn, Philosophical Writings 74; Philosophische Schriften 1: 146.

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 Essay 77

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 [77.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 [77.2] Lessing continues his discussion, begun in [74], of Aristotle’s Poetics; exploring in particular Aristotle’s statement that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear).

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 [77.3] Lessing apparently possessed a corrupted edition of the Poetics; his “word for word” quotation is therefore inaccurate. In Butcher’s English translation, Aristotle’s text reads: “Tragedy . . . is an imitation of an action . . . in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions.” See Aristotle, Poetics (Part VI). On Lessing’s corrupted edition, see Anderson, “A Note on Lessing’s Misinterpretation of Aristotle.”

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 [77.4] “[…] of an action – that, without help from the narration, by means of compassion and terror.” Aristotle and André Dacier, La poëtique d’Aristote 70–1.

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 [77.5] Curtius, Aristoteles Dichtkunst 12.

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 [77.6] Lessing errs here; he quoted previously from the eight chapter, rather than the ninth. The passage in Lessing’s footnote reads, “And since sufferings are pitiable when they appear close at hand, while those that are past or future, ten thousand years backwards or forwards, either do not excite pity at all or only in a less degree, because men neither expect the one nor remember the other, it follows that those who contribute to the effect by gestures, voice, dress, and dramatic action generally, are more pitiable.”

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 [77.7] Here, and in earlier writings, Lessing seeks a middle ground when addressing the moral purpose of tragedy. He avoids on the one hand a strict adherence to moral sensualism, and on the other a moralistic rubric conforming to social norms. Feeling and reason are both required for theatre to achieve its moral purpose. Although, according to Aristotle, tragedy is meant to evoke compassion and fear, the spectator’s emotion requires regulation. An audience member should be neither overwrought nor insensible, and the arousal of theatrical emotion must be coupled with an understanding of the natural law that is responsible for its arousal.

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 [77.8] Curtius, Aristoteles Dichtkunst 156–7.

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 [77.9] Lessing had already asserted this in a letter to Nicolai. See “Brief an Nicolai” [“Letter to Nicolai”] dated November 1756, Werke und Briefe 11/1: 668–73.

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 [77.10] An allusion to the novel Don Quixote (1605) by Miguel de Cervantes. The title character, an elderly knight, has become delusional after reading chivalric romances; in his eyes, quotidian objects become fantastical. He is accompanied by his decidedly unromantic squire, Sancho Panza.

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 [77.11] Τῶν τοιούτων παθημάτων: ton toiouton pathimaton (of such passions/sufferings).

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 [77.12] Τοιούτων: such as these. τούτων: these.

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 Essay 78

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 [78.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 [78.2] In [74] Lessing begins a discussion of Aristotle’s Poetics; exploring in particular Aristotle’s statement that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear). Here, Lessing continues, from [77], his examination of Poetics (Part VI).

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 [78.3] In Book 8 of his Politics (Sections 1339a–1342b) Aristotle discusses the role of music in the education of the young; for Lessing’s specific reference, see Politics (Section 1341b).

94 Leave a comment on paragraph 94 0 [78.4] See Pierre Corneille, “Sur la Tragédie” [“On Tragedy”] in Trois discours sur le poème dramatique [Three Discourses on Dramatic Poetry] 51; for an English translation directly from the French, see P. Corneille, “Discourse on Tragedy” 2.

95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 [78.5] See Poetics (Part XIII).

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 [78.6] See P. Corneille, “Sur la Tragédie” [“On Tragedy”] in Trois discours [Three Discourses] 51; for an English translation of the passage, see P. Corneille, “Discourse on Tragedy” 2–3.

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 [78.7] Here Lessing echoes earlier arguments in the Briefwechsel über das Trauerspiel [Correspondence on Tragedy] (1755–57), in which he connects such reasoning to a “false concept of compassion.” See “Brief an Nicolai” [“Letter to Nicolai”] dated 2 April 1757, Werke und Briefe 3: 716.

98 Leave a comment on paragraph 98 0 [78.8] André Dacier; see [37.14].

99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 [78.9] For original French, see Aristotle and Dacier, La poëtique d’Aristote 78–9. Oedipus, Philoctetes, Orestes: tragic characters in ancient Greek drama.

100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 [78.10] Stoic: Lessing refers to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121–180 CE), known for his Meditations (167 CE) in Greek on Stoic philosophy. In Book 11 of Meditations (to which Dacier refers), Marcus Aurelius states that tragedies were created to help us endure the “things we all have to go through”; the pleasure incurred through that stage, he writes, allows one to resist anger on the stage of life.

101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 [78.11] Curtius, “Abhandlung von der Absicht des Trauerspiels” in Aristoteles Dichtkunst.

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 Essay 79

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 [79.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

104 Leave a comment on paragraph 104 0 [79.2] In [74], Lessing digresses from a discussion of C. F. Weisse’s tragedy Richard the Third in order to explore Aristotle’s statement in Poetics that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear).

105 Leave a comment on paragraph 105 0 [79.3] Tr. note: Lessing uses the word Schrecken (“terror”) in the first part of this sentence, and then reverts back to Furcht (“fear”). See [74.7].

106 Leave a comment on paragraph 106 0 [79.4] νέμεσις, νεμεσᾶν: “némesis, nemesán”; here “nemesis” translates to “indignation,” following Aristotle’s usage in Rhetoric 2.9.1.

107 Leave a comment on paragraph 107 0 [79.5] μιαρόν: “miarón”; morally repulsive, filthy, distasteful, disgusting. English translators of Aristotle often render “miarón” with a variation on “shock.” See Aristotle Poetics (Part XIII).

108 Leave a comment on paragraph 108 0 [79.6] In an earlier letter to Mendelssohn, Lessing argued that admiration is not a sufficient goal for tragedy, writing that the pleasure evoked by tragedy should be specific to its genre, rather than evoking “all kinds of pleasure” without distinction. See “Brief an Mendelssohn” [“Letter to Mendelssohn”] dated 18 December 1756, Werke und Briefe 11/1: 694.

109 Leave a comment on paragraph 109 0 Essay 80

110 Leave a comment on paragraph 110 0 [80.1] Actually published spring of 1768.

111 Leave a comment on paragraph 111 0 [80.2] In [74] – [79], Lessing provides an in-depth analysis of Aristotle’s assertion in Poetics that tragedy should evoke eleos (compassion) and phobos (terror/fear).

112 Leave a comment on paragraph 112 0 [80.3] Lessing refers to an internationally-respected drama of high literary merit, rejecting centuries-old German performance traditions. Like other German theater reformers in the eighteenth century, Lessing sought to upgrade the status of the theater from lowbrow entertainment to a respectable art form suitable for the German middle classes.

113 Leave a comment on paragraph 113 0 [80.4] See Voltaire, Appel à toutes les nations de l’Europe 95–6. This essay served as “an integral part of Voltaire’s campaign against foreign, and particularly English, literary influence” (Williams, “Introduction to Appel à toutes les nations de l’Europe” 21).

114 Leave a comment on paragraph 114 0 [80.5] Charles de Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Saint-Évremond (or Évremont) (1614?–1703): French soldier and amateur essayist who lived in exile in England and Holland; author of numerous works of dramatic theory inflected by his exposure to English theater. See Saint-Évremond, Sur les tragédies in Oeuvres en prose 3: 31–2.

115 Leave a comment on paragraph 115 0 [80.6] Sir Politick Would-be (1705): prose comedy “in the English style,” inspired by Ben Jonson’s Volpone; collaboratively written in French c.1662–5 by Saint-Évremond; George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; and Ludovic Stewart, Sieur d’Aubigny. Les Opéra (1705): prose comedy written c.1676 that satirized the contemporary French obsession with opera.

116 Leave a comment on paragraph 116 0 [80.7] Voltaire, Appel à toutes les nations de l’Europe 96–8. This passage was included in editions subsequent to the original. Cyrus and Clélie: reference to Artamène, ou le grand Cyrus [Artamène or the Grand Cyrus] (1649–53) and Clélie, histoire romaine [Clélie, a Roman History] (1654–60), courtly novels (each issued in ten volumes) authored by Madeleine de Scudéry (1607–1701), a prominent French novelist, salonnière, and philosopher.

117 Leave a comment on paragraph 117 0 [80.8] Sertorius (1662), Othon (1665), Suréna (1674), and Attila (1667): tragedies by P. Corneille.

118 Leave a comment on paragraph 118 0 [80.9] Voltaire ardently advocated for the reform of French theater architecture, which, in the early eighteenth century, retained the long and narrow shape of the tennis courts from which the French theaters had been adapted. See, for example, Voltaire’s “Dissertation sur la tragédie ancienne et moderne” [“Dissertation on Ancient and Modern Tragedy”] (1748).

119 Leave a comment on paragraph 119 0 [80.10] See Aristotle, Poetics (Part XIV).

120 Leave a comment on paragraph 120 0 [80.11] This line ends differently in Poetics; Butcher’s translation reads, “But to produce this effect by the mere spectacle is a less artistic method, and dependent on extraneous aids” (see Part XIV). Lessing’s ending appears to refer back to Part VI of Poetics, in which Aristotle discusses the role of spectacle in dramatic poetry: “of all the parts, [Spectacle] is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. . . . [The] production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet” (Butcher’s translation).

121 Leave a comment on paragraph 121 0 [80.12] Lessing’s footnote quotation from Cibber is accurate; dashes indicate textual elisions.

122 Leave a comment on paragraph 122 0 [80.13] See [10.14].

123 Leave a comment on paragraph 123 0 [80.14] See [10] – [12] for Lessing’s discussion of Sémiramis.

124 Leave a comment on paragraph 124 0 [80.15] See [11] and [12] for Lessing’s comparison of Shakespeare and Voltaire’s use of ghosts.

Page 111

Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/hamburg/editorial-notes-essays-71-80/