By Kenneth S. Calhoon
Affecting Grace examines the significance of Shakespeare’s poetry and performs inside German literature and proposal after 1750 – together with its courting to German classicism, which favoured unreflected ease over theatricality. Kenneth S. Calhoon examines this pressure 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 facets of German forms of architecture.
Extending from Shakespeare’s The service provider of Venice (c. 1597) to Kleist’s The damaged Jug (1806), this research activates the ambiguity that the German literary global had began to embody Shakespeare simply because it was once toning up the huge yet said anti-Baroque sensibility chanced on pivotally in Lessing’s severe 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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Additional info for Affecting Grace: Theatre, Subject, and the Shakespearean Paradox in German Literature from Lessing to Kleist
Still in thrall to the One, the sons, rather like Shylock, seek out a judge, whom they would have decide which of the rings is the original. 16 Shylock will accept no substitute for the quantity of flesh owed him. As if to confirm Freud’s assertion that no amount of money can compensate for the unfulfilled longings of childhood,17 he rehearses the manifold increase in the delinquent sum only to dismiss it: “If every ducat in six thousand ducats / Were in six parts, and every part a ducat, / I would not draw them.
8 Symbol of divine selection, the ring enters the scene “aus lieber Hand” (397), the bequest of a “dear” or “loving” hand whose Kleistian counterpart is the hand of the puppeteer, which we may imagine extending briefly into view from above, manipulating a “centre of gravity” (Schwerpunkt) within these wooden figures so as to lend them the quality of being “weightless” (antigrav). The heaviness their graceful movements counteract is the same corporeal burden so aptly signified by the weight of flesh that Shakespeare’s Shylock is determined to cut from Antonio’s bosom.
Shylock’s conversion (also on pain of death) suggests a kindred alchemy, especially in light of the parallel action concerning the three caskets. An heir to Shylock, Lessing’s Nathan is himself summoned before a throne and made to choose among the three Mosaic religions. He is hereby “converted,” in effect, to the role of Bassanio, whose success in divining the precious contents of the lead box sets him apart from Shylock and aligns him instead with the figural mode of exegesis on which Auerbach’s literary history turns.