Affecting Grace: Theatre, Subject, and the Shakespearean Paradox in German Literature from Lessing to Kleist
Affecting Grace examines the importance of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays within German literature and thought after 1750 – including its relationship to German classicism, which favoured unreflected ease over theatricality. Kenneth S. Calhoon examines this tension against an extensive backdrop that includes a number of canonical German authors – Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Lessing, von Kleist, and Nietzsche – as well as the advent of Meissen porcelain, the painting of Bernardo Bellotto and Francesco Guardi, and aspects of German styles of architecture.
Extending from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (c. 1597) to Kleist’s The Broken Jug (1806), this study turns on the paradox that the German literary world had begun to embrace Shakespeare just as it was firming up the broad but pronounced anti-Baroque sensibility found pivotally in Lessing’s critical and dramatic works. Through these investigations, Calhoon illuminates the deep cultural changes that fundamentally affected Germany’s literary and artistic traditions.
- Series: German and European Studies
- World Rights
- Page Count: 296 pages
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 0.9in x 9.3in
Reviews‘Calhoon’s book offers an important contribution to Shakespeare scholarship within German studies that nicely complements previous publications in this area…A rich study of eighteenth-century theatre and its influence on litterature and aesthetics.’
German Studies Review, vol 37:02:2014
“Affecting Grace is a wide-ranging and highly perceptive study of eighteenth-century aesthetics and theatricality. It abounds with rich and concise forays into to Eighteenth-century drama, the visual arts, and aesthetics. Thoroughly at home in his diverse materials, Calhoon explores numerous techniques employed either to accentuate or conceal the theatricality of aesthetic form and expression. He presents his findings in unfailingly subtle and graceful prose.”
Thomas Pfau, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English and Professor of German, Duke University
“Affecting Grace is an exquisite study. The force and importance of this book derive from the depth and acumen of Kenneth S. Calhoon’s insights into imaginative processes, and it amounts to a wonderful demonstration of the critical imagination doing its very best work for us. Born of a unique critical personality and alive to the imaginative richness of the literary tradition, it’s a book that one will return to, as one returns to the books of Auerbach, Fried, and Starobinski.”
David E. Wellbery, LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor, Departments of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Chicago
Author InformationKenneth S. Calhoon is professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon..
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Chapter One: Mercy and the Spirit of Commerce: Shylock’s Shadow in the Age of Disinterest
Chapter Two: Judging Adam: Theater and the Fall into History
Chapter Three: The Virtue of Things: Meissen Porcelain and the Classical Object
Chapter Four: Of Praise and Poison in Hamlet and Miss Sara Sampson
Chapter Five: Scenic Fantasies: Bellotto in Dresden—Goethe in Strasbourg
Chapter Six: Sovereign Innocence: Schiller’s “Walk” and the Naïve Spectator
Chapter Seven: Caught in the Act: The Comedic Miscarriage of Kleist’s Broken Jug
Subjects and Courses