One step closer to Shakespeare or a complete defiance of the arrogant Enlightenment (Shakespeare in A. W. Schlegel’s interpretation)
E. M. Lutsenko
The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Russia, Moscow)
Keywords: A. W. Schlegel, Voltaire, Shakespeare, theatre, romantic drama, comparative method
Abstract: lecture on Shakespeare from Vorlesungen über dramatischen Kunst und Literatur (“Lectures on Dramatiñ Art and Literature”) by A. W. Schlegel is published in Russian for the first time. Reflecting on Shakespeare from the point of view of romantic drama, Schlegel challenges the ideas of French classicists who considered Shakespeare a drunken barbarian and a savage as in his works he didn’t follow the principles described by Aristotle in his “Poetics”. Echoing Lessing who believed that Voltaire and the classicists were wrong in their understanding of Aristotle, Schlegel encourages critics and readers to carefully listen to the voice of the Elizabethan epoch and not to judge Elizabethans from the viewpoint of their century, thus imposing upon Shakespeare’s epoch rules and ideas weird and unknown to it. Schlegel also discusses the making of national theatre traditions in Europe and shows the affinity between the English and the Spanish theatre as opposed to the French and Italian ones. In his “Lectures” Schlegel widely uses the comparative method, as yet unknown to the epoch: its theoretical ideas would later be formulated by Goethe who was the first to speak of the dominance of world literature over national tradition and of Shakespeare’s influence on the development of world theatre (“Shakespeare und kein Ende”).
Acknowledgements: The article was written on the basis of the RANEPA state assignment research programme.
To cite this article: Lutsenko, E. M. (2022). One step closer to Shakespeare or a complete defiance of the arrogant Enlightenment (Shakespeare in A. W. Schlegel’s interpretation). Shagi/Steps, 8(1), 240–252. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-1-240-25