Little Detours

March 2000
12 black and white illustrations
236 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571131485
Format: Hardback
Camden House

Little Detours

The Letters and Plays of Luise Gottsched [1713-1762]

Susanne Kord

A critical re-examination of the most pivotal of German female authors of the Enlightenment, focusing on her letters and plays.
Susanne Kord offers a critical re-examination of the traditional image of this most pivotal of all female Enlightenment authors. Central to her discussion are Gottsched's dramas and her letters to Johann Christoph Gottsched, her husband and mentor, and to Dorothea Henriette von Runckel, her friend and confidante. Both the letters, edited and censored by Runckel, and the plays, commissioned and controlled by her husband, reveal a number of highly intriguing "detours" from the path of conventionality: biographical aberrations in her letters (her chagrined loyalty to her husband, her highly passionate "friendship" with Runckel) and poetological deviations from her husband's poetics expressed in her dramas. In view of the fact that theory and poetology were considered an exclusively male domain, one moreover largely dominated by her own husband, Gottsched's perhaps most significant deviation consists of her veiled contributions to the definition of major literary concepts of her day, such as originality and authorship, in her forewords and dramas. And originality and authorship are still the issue: based on new evidence that calls Gottsched's exclusive authorship of her own letters into question, Kord examines to what extent scholars have for centuries perpetuated authorial images that were decisively shaped by her original editors--her husband and her best friend.

Susanne Kord is professor of German at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. She is co-editor of Unwrapping Goethe's Weimar, also published by Camden House.

Table of Contents

Expectations: Portraits of the Author
Originality: Contaminated Letters and Textual Hierachies
Negotiations: Letters to John Christoph Gottsched
Ailing Women and Bartered Brides: Comedies
On Faith and Failure: Tragedy
On Guilt and Innocence: Authorship
Between Friendship and Love: Letters to Dorothea Henriette von Runckel
The Politics of Mourning: Epilogue
Works Consulted


Will serve as a necessary and long overdue correction to prior scholarly neglect and misperception. BOOKWATCH

This book does some creditable spadework by showing how Luise Gottsched has been "edited out" of German literary history. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

In setting a framework for new investigation, [the book] is an invaluable contribution to the critical appraisal of women writers of this period. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

A commendable new discussion of [Luise] Gottsched's work. [The book] fosters a multiplicity of critical approaches and encourages further examination of Gottsched by feminist critics that will surely lead to new insights .... SEMINAR

Kord has managed to present a book both introductory to the new student and enriching to anyone who has looked at previous commentary on Gottsched. RESTORATION AND 18TH CENTURY THEATRE RESEARCH

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