Lessing, Jugglers, and Dramaturgs

Joel Schechter

"It was Lessing, the most eminent of dramatic critics (so I am told by persons who have read him), who was reproached by Heine for not only cutting off his victims' heads but holding them up afterwards to show that there were no brains in them. The critical profession, in fact, is cruel in its nature, and demands for its efficient discharge an inhuman person like myself."

-- George Bernard Shaw

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was so financially impoverished by January, 1767, that he agreed to serve as a resident critic at the Hamburg National Theatre. He would have preferred to be a librarian at the Royal Library in Berlin, but Frederick the Great denied him that opportunity in 1766. King Frederick hired a Frenchman instead of a German. Lessing had to settle for a position in Hamburg. In this casual, almost accidental manner, the dramaturgical profession began.

While at the Hamburg National Theatre, Lessing wrote Hamburg Dramaturgy, a collection of essays on theatre which popularized dramaturgy as both a word and a practice. Today Lessing's successors--resident theatre critics throughout Germany and Austria--are called Dramaturgs. Lessing, like many modern Dramaturgs, was a playwright who advised his theatre's management on play selection, and offered his theatre continuous, sometimes adverse, criticism of its productions. Since Lessing's day Dramaturgs have also been known to direct plays, translate foreign drama, commission works, prepare essays for inclusion in theatre programs, and usher. Nearly all Dramaturgs read plays, though one notable exception is the Dramaturg in Brecht Messingkauf Dialogues; he stays out of his office because "it would mean sitting under the reproachful eyes of all those scripts I ought to have read."

While the dramaturgical profession is largely an Austrian and German phenomenon, comparable positions exist for a

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
What Is Dramaturgy?
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.