Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz was the author of one of the few lasting theoretical works to emerge from the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) period in German literature. His Anmerkungen übers Theater nebst angehängten übersetzten Stück Shakespears (1774) served as a dramaturgy for the short-lived movement. Fully in line with the thinking of Johann Gottfried Herder, the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, Lenz rejected rules for drama composition. Like them, he attacked the French theater as superficial, disparaged the unities of time and place, and asserted that the greatest drama is conceived by emotion rather than reason.

Lenz wrote two volumes of poetry, two novellas, and a number of other theoretical essays; he also translated several plays by Plautus and made a substantial beginning on a novel. Yet his reputation as one of the leading writers of the Sturm und Drang movement and as a seminal drama theorist rests on the dramatic uvre and on Anmerkungen übers Theater nebst angehängten übersetzten Stück Shakespears.