Northern and Eastern Europe - 18th Century
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XII. Theatre in Northern and Eastern Europe During the 18th Century

Theatre developed slowly during the 18th century as Protestants and Catholics in Europe waged the Thirty Years' War. Despite unrest during this period, Germany's Johann Gottsched worked to help reform his country's theatre. He wanted to bring better literature to the theatre and was interested in raising the moral level and artistic taste of his German countrymen. The Nuebers, Caroline and Johann, also helped reform German theatre by raising the quality of theatrical performances.

An important author was Gotthold Lessing, known as Germany's first truly significant dramatist. He wrote Miss Sarah Sampson; Minna von Barnhelm, known as Germany's first national comedy; and other plays based on Biblical themes.

Noted actor/playwrights in the years between 1775 and 1800 included August Iffland and August Friedrich von Kotzebue. Iffland was head of Berlin State Theatre and wanted to humanize all roles, making average human beings into noble characters. He gained fame with his Crimes of Ambition. Kotzebue, who was even more popular than Iffland, wrote Misanthropy and Repentance. Kotzebue was noted for his ability to adapt new trends to the public taste. Until his death in 1819, Kotzebue was the most famous playwright in the world.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of Germany's greatest playwrights and one of the country's greatest literary figures. His plays, Gotze von Berlichingen and Faust, and his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, were two of his most famous works. Goethe settled at Weimar and helped make it the cultural center of Germany. Goethe was also considered one of the first directors in the modern sense.

Links to Chapter 12

Goethe

bulletGoethe
bullet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Faust

bulletFaust
bulletGoethe's Faust
W.ild W.onderful W.orld of Theatre History

The purpose of this project is to show the highlights of different periods of theatre history, including plays, acting styles, staging convention, costuming, and playwrights. Web links have been provided so that students can find additional information on items of interest.

 

Origins of Theatre ] Theatre and Drama in Ancient Greece ] Roman and Byzantine Theatre and Drama ] European Drama in the Middle Ages ] Italian Theatre and Drama ] English Theatre Middle Ages to 1642 ] Spanish Theatre to 1700 ] Theatre in France--1500-1700 ] Theatre of the Orient ] English Theatre, 1642-1800 ] Italy and France - 18th Century ] Northern and Eastern Europe - 18th Century ] Europe & the U.S. - 19th Century ] Europe and the U.S. - Late 19th Century ] Modern Theatre, 1875-1915 ] Europe/ U.S. Between the Wars ] Europe and the U.S., 1940-68 ] Drama After 1968 ]

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