›Beredsamkeit‹ in Lessing’s Zur Geschichte und Litteratur: A Reply to Herder
2014 (English)In: Rhetorik: ein internationales Jahrbuch, ISSN 0720-5775, E-ISSN 1865-9160, Vol. 33, 42-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Towards the end of Ueber die neuere Deutsche Litteratur (1767), Johann Gottfried Herder publicly makes the call that homiletics is in need of »a completely different kind of eloquence«. Ciceronian eloquence in Germany did not have any public space except from the pulpit, and the eloquence we hear from the pulpit made the public passive, because the preacher pronounced sentences like a judge in a court. Herder turned instead to the Bible as a book that is in need of interpretation, to literature as a public arena where different opinions could meet, to the reader as a detective, and to the story of creation as the secret model by which to create an all-embracing perspective from a diversity of viewpoints. Herder took a series of isolated judgments (fragments) from leading journals of his day and shaped these broken pieces into puzzle pieces (fragments in a new sense) which can be put together as a comprehensive image of German literature. Although it challenged the division between painting and poetry of Laokoon, Lessing adopted this form of presentation in his work Zur Geschichte und Litteratur (1773-1777), but retorted on a grander scale by presenting puzzle pieces from manuscripts of the Herzog August Library. At this time, Herder, Goethe and Lessing could be seen as an avant-garde bound together by a similar technique of presentation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2014. Vol. 33, 42-79 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282192OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-282192DiVA: diva2:916698