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Benjamin's LibraryModernity, Nation, and the Baroque$
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Jane O. Newman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476594

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476594.001.0001

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The Plays Are the Thing

The Plays Are the Thing

Textual Politics and the German Drama

(p.77) 2 The Plays Are the Thing
Benjamin's Library

Jane O. Newman

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the pattern of quotations in the Tragic Drama and looks at their links to an ideology of nation. The literal production of the tradition of Baroque plays that Benjamin cites can be witnessed particularly clearly in a late nineteenth-century nationalist edition of the plays of one of the seventeenth-century Silesian playwrights he discusses, namely Andreas Gryphius. Benjamin appears to have owned this volume, which was edited by Hermann Palm. The chapter discusses the Palm Gryphius text in more depth, placing Palm's version of the Baroque in dialogue with several Baroque and “Enlightenment” editions of plays and with the longer tradition of German theater. Finally, the chapter discusses how a non-German playwright like Shakespeare could belong to a “modern” German Baroque.

Keywords:   ideology of nation, Baroque plays, German theater, Andreas Gryphius, Hermann Palm, William Shakespeare, modern German Baroque

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