By Kenneth S. Calhoon
Affecting Grace examines the significance of Shakespeare’s poetry and performs inside of German literature and inspiration after 1750 – together with its courting to German classicism, which favoured unreflected ease over theatricality. Kenneth S. Calhoon examines this rigidity opposed to an in depth backdrop that features a variety of canonical German authors – Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Lessing, von Kleist, and Nietzsche – in addition to the appearance of Meissen porcelain, the portray of Bernardo Bellotto and Francesco Guardi, and points of German varieties of architecture.
Extending from Shakespeare’s The service provider of Venice (c. 1597) to Kleist’s The damaged Jug (1806), this learn activates the ambiguity that the German literary international had began to include Shakespeare simply because it was once toning up the wide yet stated anti-Baroque sensibility stumbled on pivotally in Lessing’s serious and dramatic works. via those investigations, Calhoon illuminates the deep cultural alterations that essentially affected Germany’s literary and inventive traditions.
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Extra info for Affecting Grace: Theatre, Subject, and the Shakespearean Paradox in German Literature from Lessing to Kleist
His congenital club foot is the literal antipode of grace (Anmut), which in the immediate wake of Kant’s Critique of Judgment represented a healing of the fracture between the moral and the physical. The loss of his judicial wig exposes a head sorely wounded by the misadventure that brought the jug to ruin. 50 This capacity for oblivion is shared by the Classical object and marks it as a fetish, its purpose being that of erasing memory and with Introduction 21 it the very debt around which the subject is constructed.
While The Merchant of Venice and The Broken Jug serve as bookends of the overall discussion, Lessing is the crucial intermediary through whom Shakespeare is revived as a (somewhat unlikely) standard of modern dramatic verisimilitude, his work divested of the same stylistic rupture that the jug’s breakage may be said to restore. Equivalent of the Biblical fall, that rupture enables a surge in social energy and implicates Lessing’s “law of beauty” (Gesetz der Schönheit), to which Frau Marthe in a sense appeals, as an aesthetic bulwark against the force of history.
25 Compare Shylock, whom the laws of Venice would condemn, but who is compelled instead to convert, his integration part of the same process in which the brutality that so nearly claims Antonio is neutralized. A martyr-play thus yields to comedy and to the “comic,” conciliatory itinerary of salvation. ” Schiller makes a point of differentiating grace from natural phenomena, such as the swaying of boughs in the breeze, though the similarity/ dissimilarity helps articulate the essentially Lutheran paradox that both Shakespeare and Schiller contend with – a paradox that Schiller recasts in aesthetic terms and routes through Classical antiquity.