The German Stage, 1767-1890: A Directory of Playwrights and Plays

The German Stage, 1767-1890: A Directory of Playwrights and Plays

The German Stage, 1767-1890: A Directory of Playwrights and Plays

The German Stage, 1767-1890: A Directory of Playwrights and Plays

Synopsis

This compendium of data on German playwrights and plays emphasizes the working repertory of German theatres during the period from 1767 to 1890. Presented in a clear and concise format, the information has been extracted from a variety of sources, many of which are difficult to obtain and inconveniently arranged. By including the works of both dilettantes and literary giants, the book provides insight into the theatre of the period under study and will prove useful for research on German "Trivialliteratur" of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Excerpt

Much of what has been written about German drama of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries emanates from literary historians and critics who Judge the success or failure of a play according to its literary merits. However, it is well known that many "good" plays had little impact on the theatre, while countless long-forgotten works comprised the regular entertainment of the theatre-going public. The authors of these plays are themselves often equally obscure. Although some playwrights, such as August von Kotzebue, August Wilhelm Iffland, Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer and Ernst Raupach, are frequently cited--and sometimes studied--as prolific writers of popular plays, most authors fail to earn even brief mention. But the purpose of this book is neither to resurrect neglected playwrights nor to revise opinions of their works. Rather, it is to facilitate investigation of the working repertory of German theatres between 1767 and 1890 by recording the production of more than four thousand plays in ten selected cities. The data presented here in a systematic way have been extracted from a variety of sources, many of which are difficult to obtain and inconveniently arranged. By including the works of both dilettantes and literary giants, such a compilation provides insight into the practical theatre of the period in question and should also prove useful for research on German "Trivialliteratur" of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a subject of recent scholarly interest.

The historical scope of the compilation will be apparent to students of German drama. 1767 marked the inauguration of the ill-fated "Hamburg enterprise," the first attempt to establish a German national theatre, as well as the publication of G. E. Lessing Hamburg Dramaturgy, the first serious critical essays to concern themselves (at least initially) with contemporary theatrical performance. Despite the fact that both endeavors were short-lived, they gave impetus, on the one hand, to the rise of popular theatre in Germany and, on the other, to a host of theatre Journals which chronicled and criticized the productions of the day. Throughout most of the nineteenth century the enormous public appetite for "Novitäten" was satisfied by the staging of a prodigious number of . . .

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