Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million


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About the German Language

Oral rituals of the Latin mass were linked to the celebratory cycle of the Christian calendar, to the Christmas and Easter messages of birth, death, and salvation. Dramatic enactment served as an entertaining vehicle reinforcing wondrous truths. The recovery in of plays in Latin modeled after those of the Roman playwright Terence c. Philipp Melanchthon's edition of Terence provided an authoritative textual base for both dramatic form and literary language and served as a catalyst for translation of the plays from Latin into German , thereby assuring the spread of classical models.

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Whether written in German or Latin, Schuldrama was a constant; theater in Germany remained nonprofessional until the eighteenth century. Martin Luther — was leery both of the diversions of medieval pageantry and the pre-Christian worldliness of Greek and Roman plays. His mentor Melanchthon, however, convinced him of the efficacy of placing drama in the service of the Reformation.

While some playwrights pilloried the Roman Catholic Church , Luther encouraged the production of plays based on biblical sources. Prodigal Son plays, for example, defined the exemplary Christian life grounded in the precepts of faith-alone theology, while Judith dramas portrayed heroic piety confronting blasphemous tyranny, Judith versus Holofernes representing the Lutheran versus the Roman Church.

Lutheran schoolmasters and pastors cranked out German-language plays, spreading a Protestant message to cultural centers notably Strasbourg and to most corners of the empire and Switzerland. The Catholic religious orders, but especially Jesuit playwrights such as Jakob Bidermann and Jakob Masen, countered, producing Neo-Latin works, the theatricality of which influenced playwrights well into the seventeenth century.

The most prolific playwright of the sixteenth century was Hans Sachs — Often parodied because of his unrelenting German-language doggerel, the Nuremberg author absorbed classical and medieval literary and historical sources, authoring tragedies and comedies as well as 80 Fastnachtspiele. Not only did he transmit a version of Terence's Eunuch or the medieval romance Tristan und Isolde to the German imagination, but his Fastnachtspiele toned down the blatant profanity of his predecessors, deploying the Shrovetide message of excess just prior to Lent firmly in the service of Reformation instruction.

During the late sixteenth century, German playwrights also derived inspiration from the Italian commedia dell'arte and from traveling troupes of English professional players who toured cities and princely courts throughout the empire. The brand of theater was decidedly histrionic, focused more on slapstick action than on the word. Nicodemus Frischlin's Caminarius in the court-centered play Julius Redivivus was a lascivious commedia-type. Duke Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig's braggart soldier in the courtly piece named for him, Vincentius Ladislaus , was as indebted to Shakespearean and Italian models as to classical sources.

Each drama documents the derivative nature of German drama as well as the significance of princely court festival culture in the era; indeed, the first theater building in the empire was constructed by a Hessian prince for his court in Kassel — Comedy, as Cicero had written, was a mirror of laughable life, while tragedy ended sadly. Such views were hardly complex or subtle, and with the variegated dramatic conventions competing for the German stage, what was lacking was a coherent theoretical base. The author was a culturally patriotic student of Italian Renaissance poetics who simply translated Julius Caesar Scaliger's — definitions verbatim into German.

Opitz's work became authoritative, spawning a host of learned theoretical publications. Playwrights after Opitz knew exactly what was expected of them and wrote accordingly. Andreas Gryphius — was honored as the consummate practitioner of literary art.

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His five tragedies and two comedies, along with lesser-known dramas, established him as the exemplar of the era's sensibility. Subsequent dramas by Gryphius addressed the tragic fate of figures from both the distant and the recent past, for example, that of the English King Charles I, who was beheaded in Yet research has shown that Gryphius could not have known Shakespeare's text directly, even as he dramatized the tragic comedy of errors derived from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Instead, Gryphius explicitly satirized the ineptness of Hans Sachs , even as he dissembled Opitz's rigid definition of comedy. The oft-performed tragicomedy argued for the admissibility of chaotic absurdity on the German stage. On the other hand, Horribilicribrifax , featuring two preposterous braggart soldiers, was more in line with Greek and Roman comedy, with commedia dell'arte traditions, and with the German conventions of the form.

As a result of the cessation of hostilities, the pair is down on its luck and now in pursuit of eligible ladies. The happy-end marriage, a comedic process of reintegration, dramatized pertinent issues after the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War — The six tragedies by Daniel Casper von Lohenstein — focused on protagonists of the Roman, Egyptian, and Turkish past, on exotic figures such as Nero , Cleopatra , and Sultan Sulieman. Grand passions, explicit eroticism, and absolute power drove both the action and the highly charged literary language. Such extravagance commented on and echoed the absolutism of the German empire and marked Lohenstein as a tragedian of skeptical rationalism, the antithesis of a religious playwright.

During the eighteenth century, Lohenstein was censured, while a lesser literary talent, the schoolmaster-playwright Christian Weise — authored eighteen comedies and four tragedies in the tradition of the Schuldrama, plays that anticipated eighteenth-century trends of theater in the service of the Enlightenment. The publication of Johann Christoph Gottsched's — Versuch einer critischen Dichtkunst vor die Deutschen ; Attempt at a critical poetics for the Germans a century after Opitz's treatise signaled the shift to thinking in line with the Enlightenment.

Opitz had repeated sixteenth-century Italian descriptions of drama. Gottsched looked to French playwrights for his models: to the tragedies of Pierre Corneille — and Jean Racine — , to the comedies of Philippe Destouches — and Charles Dufresny — Gottsched's definitions of comedy and tragedy were proscriptive rather than merely descriptive , arguing for the adherence to French-inspired classicist form as well as for the moral function of theater. For the playwrights from the territory of Saxony, a comic figure's laughable fixation — for example, hypochondria — was considered to be directly related to the character's lack of rationality.

Comedy was not laughter for laughter's sake; the play presented both the irrational trait and the process leading to its abandonment. In Der junge Gelehrte ; The young scholar , his first truly popular play, he satirized his own precocious intellect. The protagonists, the lovers Minna and Tellheim, were not only laughable types Tellheim, a braggart soldier , but also individuals movingly caught up in a near tragic comedy. With Lessing, German drama came into its own. In , he published Miss Sara Sampson, a sentimental bourgeois tragedy indebted to an English text.

His Literaturbrief ; Seventeenth literary letter delivered a massive critique of Gottsched and the French playwrights, even as he championed Shakespeare. With the tragedy Emilia Galotti , he took on the depravity of an absolutist prince bent on the seduction of middle-class Emilia. That the tragedy was first performed at a prince's court assured its impact and Lessing's notoriety.

Like Gryphius, he did not shrink from criticizing sociopolitical institutions even as he sought to advance the greatest goal of the Enlightenment, the education of humanity. Nathan der Weise ; Nathan the wise presented his vision of religious tolerance between Jews , Christians , and Muslims in dramatic form. The era of the Enlightenment in Germany experienced a refinement of literary language. With the exception of the blank verse in Nathan, all of Lessing's dramas were written in prose, it being true to life.

During the same period, German theater gradually became professional. The itinerant troupes of players, generally thought of as vagrants, were hired for residence at this court or that.

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Even though the permanent establishment of a Nationaltheater in Hamburg failed, actors and actresses gained a footing. Furthermore, the Hamburg experiment yielded Lessing's Hamburgische Dramaturgie — ; The Hamburg dramaturgy , a compilation of reviews of stage performances in Hamburg and essays on the nature of drama and theater. Most importantly, Lessing took on Aristotle 's theory of tragedy, redefining the genre in terms of the Enlightenment: tragedy was to effect not only an emotional response, but also a moral change in the viewers.

Lessing's death in marked the transition from early modern to modern drama. He had introduced Germany to future directions; it has been argued that Sturm und Drang Storm and Stress drama was a radicalized extension of the Enlightenment. Demetz, Peter, ed. New York , Translations of essential plays and writings into English. Gillespie, Gerald, ed. German Theater before Halbig, Michael C. Hinderer, Walter, ed.

Friedrich Schiller, Plays. New York, A translation of Intrigue and Love and Don Carlos. Leidner, Alan C. Sturm und Drang. Listerman, Randall W. Hans Sachs. Nine Carnival Plays. Ottawa, Drama in Renaissance Germany and Switzerland. Parkville, Australia , A useful overview. Aikin, Judith P. German Baroque Drama. Boston, Chapters on drama to include festival and musical culture. Alexander, Robert J. Das deutsche Barockdrama. Stuttgart , An indispensable handbook. Aylett, Robert, and Peter Skrine, eds.

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Lewiston, N. Bacon, Thomas I. Martin Luther and the Drama.


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Amsterdam , Eckardt, Jo-Jacqueline. Lessing's Nathan the Wise and the Critics, — Columbia, S. A useful study of the tradition of scholarship on Lessing as a playwright. Ehrstine, Glenn. Theater, Culture, and Community in Reformation Bern, — Leiden and Boston, Examination of ten plays in a Swiss sociocultural context. Fick, Monika. Lessing-Handbuch: Leben — Werk — Wirkung. Stuttgart, The most up-to-date of numerous handbooks on Lessing and his works. Gillespie, Gerald E.

Daniel Casper von Lohenstein's Historical Tragedies. Columbus, Ohio , Hardin, James, ed. German Baroque Writers — Detroit , Colloquial Expressions and Idioms. More Recommendations. Language textbooks are rather expensive and generally only include the formal, written language. You will need more exposure to the real spoken language if you want to be become fluent. Please consider sending a donation of any amount to help support ielanguages. Thank you!

German ll. Germanic Language of 128 million

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Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million
Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million
Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million
Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million
Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million Learning German. Germanic language of 128 million

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