Their Shakespeare

Their Shakespeare some justification for Hauptmann’s claim, some core of fact, if not unassailable, at least occasionally accurate. The first recorded English-language performance in Germany—most probably of Shakespeare—was by a troupe of traveling players before the Elector of Saxony in 1586; the first complete German translation of a Shakespeare play was Julius Caesar by C. W. von Borck in 1741. Performances and translations became more frequent, but it was only beginning in the 1760s, through the critical advocacy primarily of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, that the supreme creator of English drama (can’t we say of English culture itself?) ascended to a comparable status among the Germans. At that time, however, there was no Germany, but only a hodgepodge of disunited city-states, principalities, bishoprics, and other entities, if not answering to France through direct political allegiance, certainly under French sway in all matters of cultural expression, even of language itself. If the Germans were going to unite as a nation and culture, they would have to throw off this foreign hegemony—but to replace it with what? Most of their literature was Gallic imitation and their stages were hemmed in by the neoclassical prohibitions of Corneille, Voltaire, and their epigones. Although Shakespeare was http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Theater Duke University Press

Their Shakespeare

Theater, Volume 30 (2) – Jan 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre
ISSN
0161-0775
eISSN
1527-196X
DOI
10.1215/01610775-30-2-164
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

some justification for Hauptmann’s claim, some core of fact, if not unassailable, at least occasionally accurate. The first recorded English-language performance in Germany—most probably of Shakespeare—was by a troupe of traveling players before the Elector of Saxony in 1586; the first complete German translation of a Shakespeare play was Julius Caesar by C. W. von Borck in 1741. Performances and translations became more frequent, but it was only beginning in the 1760s, through the critical advocacy primarily of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, that the supreme creator of English drama (can’t we say of English culture itself?) ascended to a comparable status among the Germans. At that time, however, there was no Germany, but only a hodgepodge of disunited city-states, principalities, bishoprics, and other entities, if not answering to France through direct political allegiance, certainly under French sway in all matters of cultural expression, even of language itself. If the Germans were going to unite as a nation and culture, they would have to throw off this foreign hegemony—but to replace it with what? Most of their literature was Gallic imitation and their stages were hemmed in by the neoclassical prohibitions of Corneille, Voltaire, and their epigones. Although Shakespeare was

Journal

TheaterDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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