Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Andreas Friz's Letter on Tragedies (Ca. 1741-1744): An Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Contribution to Theatre Poetics

Academic journal article Seventeenth-Century News

Andreas Friz's Letter on Tragedies (Ca. 1741-1744): An Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Contribution to Theatre Poetics

Article excerpt

Andreas Friz's Letter on Tragedies (ca. 1741-1744): An Eighteenth-Century Jesuit Contribution to Theatre Poetics. By Nienke Tjoelker. Drama and Theatre in Early Modern Europe, 4. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014. x + 295 pp. This book contains an edition and translation into English of a lengthy Letter on Tragedies and the Latin text of the Analysis tragaediarum Racini of Andreas Friz, a Jesuit who taught the poetry class at the University of Graz. The importance of this material is not immediately obvious, since the general assumption has been that Jesuit school drama had retreated into the colleges and was dying out in the eighteenth century. However as Tjoelker shows in her lengthy introduction, more plays were actually performed in the German-speaking areas between 1701 and 1773 than had been recorded for the period 1555-1700, and a significant amount of theoretical effort was still being expended by the Jesuits themselves during this later period. And Jesuit drama continued to develop in new directions, with meditational plays emerging in significant quantities, more plays getting into print, and additional performances taking place in individual classes.

Friz's treatise on tragedies takes the form of a letter to an unknown addressee, which allows him to react to common ideas about the Jesuit stage and to develop his own ideas. The letter discusses the purpose of drama, verisimilitude, and procuring the attention of the audience through clarity and delight. The main purpose of drama, he argues, is to purge the emotions and to instill the love of virtue and aversion to vice, such that the play teaches through pleasing, as Horace had recommended. Many of his contemporaries placed so much emphasis on spectacle and music that the moral imperative got lost. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.