Johann Elias Schlegel

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Johann Elias Schlegel (born January 17, 1719 in Meißen ; † August 13, 1749 in Sorø , Denmark ) was a German poet, playwright and poetry theorist.


Schlegel was the son of an Appellationsrat and Stiftssyndikus and was trained from 1733 to 1739 in Schulpforta . During this time he wrote his first dramas. So in 1736 “Hekuba”, the following year “The Trojans” and “Siblings in Tauria”. The first performance of the latter took place in 1739 on the Neubert stage in Leipzig. At the same time, the drama "Orestes and Pylades" was created and he began working on "Dido". A further level for him was the scientific examination of aesthetic and dramaturgical questions. In this context he wrote in 1739 the “Letter about the tragedy of the old and the new”.

From 1739 to 1742 Johann Elias Schlegel studied history, philosophy and law at the University of Leipzig , where he became acquainted with Johann Christoph Gottsched . From 1740 he wrote numerous articles for the latter's magazine “Schaubühne” and became a member of Gottsched's “Rednergesellschaft”. In 1741, a comparison between William Shakespeare (1564–1616) and Andreas Gryphius (1616–1664) made as a drama theory contradicts the opinion prevalent in this group around Gottsched . As the first German author, he paid tribute to Shakespeare's exemplary nature and presented his own theory of drama, the “Treatise on Imitation”. In the same year his drama "Hermann" was created. He passed his legal exam in 1742.

Schlegel worked briefly in Dresden in 1742 as private secretary of the Saxon envoy von Spener, in the following year he went to Hamburg via Berlin and worked in Copenhagen from 1743 . Here he met the Danish director of pleasure games Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), with whom he then became a close friend. His dramas “The busy idler”, intended for the “Schaubühne”, and “Dido, a tragedy” were completed in Copenhagen. From 1745 Johann Elias Schlegel was the sole author of the magazine Der Fremde , in which he reported on the situation in Denmark. In this magazine, he primarily encouraged people to think about cultural, historical and literary issues in a frank manner. He was intensely committed to building a theater in Denmark. In his “letter for the establishment of a theater in Copenhagen” he demanded that it should be under the direction of an artistic director and that the poets should receive payment. He wrote individual pieces for this Danish theater, such as the comedy “The Mysterious”, “The Dumb Beauty” and “The Triumph of Good Women” in 1747. On December 18 of the same year the theater in Copenhagen was opened with Schlegel's prelude “ The boredom ”opened. During this time he also took part with some lyrical works in the "Untitled Book" published by his brother Johann Adolf Schlegel (1721–1793). In 1748 he summarized the experiences he had gained through theater work in the text “Contributions to the Danish Theater”.

In 1748 Johann Elias Schlegel took over an extraordinary professorship for modern history, constitutional law and commerce at the new knight academy in Sorø . During this time, in addition to his teaching activities, he published the "Aesthetic and Dramaturgical Writings" and wrote the "Bride in Mourning", which was later rated as an exemplary work of German classical music.

In his time, Johann Elias Schlegel was an important initiator and participant in the literary-aesthetic discussions in German-speaking countries ( Gottsched , Bodmer ).

“The 18th century is also the time of the most intensive cultural and literary ties between Germany and Denmark in the history of the two nations. A key figure in these intercultural relationships is the German poet, poetry theorist and scholar Johann Elias Schlegel. "

- Inga Reske

In 1748 he married his beloved "Cloris" - Johanna Sophia Niordt (born January 29, 1719 in Großenhain, † May 22, 1784 in Sorø). He was the brother of Johann Adolf Schlegel , Johann Heinrich Schlegel and the uncle of August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel .

Johann Elias Schlegel died on August 13, 1749 in Sorø in the middle of the restless urge to create .

With the help of his brother Johann Adolf Schlegel , a first compilation of his works was published in two volumes as early as 1750 under the title "Lustspiele des Saintfoix". His brother Johann Heinrich Schlegel (1724–1780), who also came to Copenhagen and worked as a historian and librarian at the Royal Danish Library , then published his works in five volumes from 1761 to 1770 .


(For the chronology, see the time table in Eugen Wolff's monograph from 1892)

Modern editions

  • Johann Elias Schlegel: Selected Works . Edited by Werner Schubert (= text editions on German classical music, vol. 2). Arion, Weimar 1963.
  • Johann Elias Schlegel: Aesthetic and Dramaturgical Writings . Edited by Johann von Antoniewicz. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1970.
  • Johann Elias Schlegel: Comparison of Shakespears and Andreas Gryphs . Reclam, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-15-008242-0 .
  • Johann Elias Schlegel: Theoretical Texts. With an afterword ed. by Rainer Baasner . (Theater texts; 9) . Wehrhahn, Hannover 2000, ISBN 3-932324-19-6 .


Introductions and overviews


  • Sibylle Plassmann: The humane society and its opponents in the dramas by JE Schlegel . Lit, Münster u. a. 2000, ISBN 3-8258-4868-X .
  • Gerlinde Bretzigheimer : Johann Elias Schlegel's poetic theory in the context of tradition . Fink, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-7705-2347-4 .
  • Georg-Michael Schulz: Overcoming barbarism. Johann Elias Schlegel's tragedies . Niemeyer, Tübingen 1980, ISBN 3-484-10399-X .
  • Albert Meier: Johann Elias Schlegel: Canut, a tragedy. In: Dramas from the Baroque to the Enlightenment. Stuttgart 2000 (rub 17512: Literature Studies. Interpretations), pp. 251–274.
  • Albert Meier: La reception de Pierre Corneille par Johann Elias Schlegel. In: Pierre Corneille et l'Allemagne. L'œuvre dramatique de Pierre Corneille dans le monde germanique (XVII e -XIX e siècles). Sous la direction de Jean-Marie Valentin avec la collaboration de Laure Gauthier. Paris 2007, pp. 259-271 (translation: Laure Gauthier).
  • Albert Meier: From Paris via Leipzig to Copenhagen? Dystopias of Classicism in Johann Christoph Gottsched and Johann Elias Schlegel. In: Topographies of Antiquity in the Literary Enlightenment. Edited by Annika Hildebrandt, Charlotte Kurbjuhn, Steffen Martus. Publications for the journal for German studies. New episode: Volume 30. Bern - Berlin - Bruxelles - Frankfurt am Main - New York - Oxford - Vienna 2016, pp. 117–128.
  • Albert Meier: Little bile. Johann Elias Schlegel's anacreontic weekly Der Fremde. In: Hansen, Søren Peter / Stockhorst, Stefanie (eds.): German-Danish Cultural Relations in the 18th Century / German-Danish Cultural Relations in the 18th Century (Writings of the Early Modern Center Potsdam 9). Göttingen 2019, pp. 55–65.

Web links

Wikisource: Johann Elias Schlegel  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ [Entry] Johann Elias Schlegel . In: Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Hrsg.): Kindlers Literatur Lexikon . 3rd, completely revised edition, Vol. 14, pp. 550–552. Metzler, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-476-04000-8 .
  2. ^ Johann von Antoniewicz, Johann Elias Schlegel, General German Biography, 1870
  3. Julia Jerosch, Johann Elias Schlegel, Neue Deutsche Biographie, Volume 23, 2007, p. 36f.
  4. Georg-Michael Schulz: "The older Schlegel brothers and their 'book without a title'". A book history curiosity from the early 18th century. in: Andreas Gardt (Hrsg.): Book culture and knowledge transfer in the Middle Ages and early modern times. De Gruyter, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-026870-6 , p. 41ff.
  5. ^ Archives for Kinship Research and All Related Areas, Volume 41, Issue 57 - Volume 42, Issue 64 CA Starke, 1975