Marriage, Gender, and Desire in Early Enlightenment German Comedy
Title Details

210 Pages

0 x 0 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 112

Imprint: Camden House

Marriage, Gender, and Desire in Early Enlightenment German Comedy

by Edward T. Potter

  • Description
  • Contents
Reveals eighteenth-century German comedies' inherent resistance -- through their depiction of alternative gender roles and sexual behavior -- to the emerging discourse of the sentimental marriage.

J. C. Gottsched, who reformed early Enlightenment German theater, claimed for comedy the ability to transform morality. The new literary comedies of the 1740s, among the other moral goals that they pursued, propagated a new sentimental discourse promoting marriage based on love while devaluing its traditional socioeconomic foundations. Yet in comedies by well-known dramatists of the period such as Gottsched, Gellert, J. E. Schlegel, Lessing, and Quistorp,alternative gender roles and sexual behaviors call the primacy of marriage into question: there are women who refuse to be integrated into marriage, episodes of cross-dressing that foreground the culturally constructed aspects ofgender roles, instances of male same-sex desire, and allusions to female same-sex desire. Edward T. Potter examines this marital discourse in close readings of these authors' plays, uncovering the ambiguity of eighteenth-century comedy's stance on marriage and highlighting its resistance to the emerging discourse of the sentimental marriage. In addition to excavating the connections between the texts and norms regarding gender roles and sexual behavior, Potter also examines how these comedies self-reflexively perform their own reception in plays-within-plays that reflect upon early Enlightenment comedy, poetics, and pedagogical aesthetics and thereby comment on the efficacy of theater as a means of propagating such norms.

Edward T. Potter is Associate Professor of German at Mississippi State University.
Introduction: Comedy, the Sentimental Marriage, and Modes of Resistance
Promoting the Sentimental Marriage in Theory and in Practice
The Virgin Huntress Tamed: J. C. Gottsched's Atalanta and the Erasure of Female Autonomy
Marriage Brokering at the Expense of Economics: C. F. Gellert's Die zärtlichen Schwestern
The Clothes Make the Man: J. E. Schlegel's Der Triumphder guten Frauen
Cross-Dressing and Gender Performance in G. E. Lessing'sDer Misogyne
Sickness Masks Desire in Th. J. Quistorp's Der Hypochondrist
Conclusion
Works Cited
Index

Ebook (EPDF)

9781571138248

March 2012

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Title Details

210 Pages

0 x 0 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 112

Imprint: Camden House