Affecting Grace: Theatre, Subject, and the Shakespearean by Kenneth S. Calhoon

By Kenneth S. Calhoon

Affecting Grace examines the significance of Shakespeare’s poetry and performs inside of German literature and notion after 1750 – together with its courting to German classicism, which favoured unreflected ease over theatricality. Kenneth S. Calhoon examines this stress opposed to an intensive 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 elements of German sorts of architecture.

Extending from Shakespeare’s The service provider of Venice (c. 1597) to Kleist’s The damaged Jug (1806), this research activates the anomaly that the German literary global had all started to embody Shakespeare simply because it was once toning up the vast yet suggested anti-Baroque sensibility discovered pivotally in Lessing’s serious and dramatic works. via those investigations, Calhoon illuminates the deep cultural adjustments that essentially affected Germany’s literary and creative traditions.

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Additional resources for Affecting Grace: Theatre, Subject, and the Shakespearean Paradox in German Literature from Lessing to Kleist (German and European Studies)

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But for all its action and movement, the Laocoön grouping avoids being theatrical or baroque, granting the viewer instead a level of contemplative distance consistent with the Kantian standard of disinterest. Shylock pretends a disinterest of his own, yet in pressing for Antonio’s (narrowly averted) martyrdom, he underscores the affiliation between the mercy he withholds and its secular, aesthetic synonyms. 42 It is to such justice that Dante makes himself a witness. The reluctant pilgrim swoons at the parade of misery just as he chokes on Hell’s unbearable stench, indeed he is overcome by the mere memory of all he sees, hears, and smells.

In its self-containment it is a sightless façade, its blindness the guarantor of the autonomy the young traveller experiences. However un-Classical the object, the church offers an aesthetic remedy to that “brittle creaturality” (to use Auerbach’s expression once more), which the young poet, recovering from a long illness, perceives in himself. A comparable, “sovereign” mobility is tracked in Schiller’s decidedly Classical “Der Spaziergang” (“The Walk”), a two-hundred-line elegy that turns on a visionary encounter with the cenotaph inscribed with Simonides’ famous distich honouring the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae.

To be sure, Shylock’s conversion, in being forced, makes a mockery of Portia’s signature pronouncement (“. . not strained”). However, his conversion is also an act of assimilation, which is of particular relevance to an emergent mode of theatre, in which – as in the regime of the bourgeoisie generally – innocuousness is the ideal. ”45 No longer visible as a persona, the writer (Flaubert) recedes behind events that are self-interpreting. 51 Lashed to the mast of his ship while the Sirens sing in the offing, Odysseus anticipates the immobilized spectator of modern theatre.

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