Lessing displays a remarkable familiarity with the English literary scene and shows himself especially aware of Samuel Johnson's literary output and his dramatic critical achievement in neo-classical England. The study traces and examines affinities of Lessing's ideas with those of Johnson and a certain impact of Johnson on Lessing's ideas in the field of dramatic critical theory and practice. The investigation centres on Johnson's
Dictionary, and his edition of
The Plays of William Shakespeare and on Lessing's
Laokoon and the
Hamburgische Dramaturgie. Plays studied are
Irene, Miss Sara Sampson, Emilia Galotti and
Minna von Barnhelm.
Bern, Frankfurt/M., New York, Paris, 1991. 295 pp.
Contents: Lessing's knowledge of Johnson and his Johnson background - English critical tradition as background of Johnson
and Lessing - Their concepts of 'nature', 'life', dramatic 'character' and 'illusion' - The two critics in their dramas.