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Non-Aristotelian Drama in Eighteenth Century Germany and its Modernity: J.M.R. Lenz


Helga Stipa Madland

The changing concept of mimesis from Bodmer and Breitinger to Lenz had a profound effect upon dramatic language, character and structure. Their notion of mimesis, which rejects Aristotle and the imitation of existing models, provided the impetus for innovation on the German stage. The dramatic theory and practice of J.M.R. Lenz is not an abrupt caesura breaking with the conventions of Enlightenment drama, but the culmination of a Non-Aristotelian tradition beginning with Bodmer and Breitinger. Lenz's dramatic theory and practice, which has found a resounding echo in twentieth-century dramaturgy, is examined in light of his Non-Aristotelian predecessors.
Contents: Mimesis - Dramatic language - Character and structure according to Bodmer and Breitinger - Klopstock - J.E. Schlegel - Sulzer - Gellert - Gerstenberg - Lenz's concept of mimesis in «Anmerkungen übers Theater» - Language, character and structure in Die Soldaten and Der Hofmeister.