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Joel B. Lande’s Persistence of Folly challenges the accepted account of the origins of German theater by focusing on the misunderstood figure of the fool, whose spontaneous and impish jest captivated audiences, critics, and playwrights from the late sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. Lande radically expands the scope of literary historical inquiry, showing that the fool was not a distraction from attempts to establish a serious dramatic tradition in the German language. Instead, the fool was both a fixture on the stage and a nearly ubiquitous theme in an array of literary critical, governmental, moral-philosophical, and medical discourses, figuring centrally in broad-based efforts to assign laughter a proper time, place, and proportion in society.

Persistence of Folly reveals the fool as a cornerstone of the dynamic process that culminated in the works of Lessing, Goethe, and Kleist. By reorienting the history of German theater, Lande’s work conclusively shows that the highpoint of German literature around 1800 did not eliminate irreverent jest in the name of serious drama, but instead developed highly refined techniques for integrating the comic tradition of the stage fool.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Epigraph
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. Part I The Fool at Play: Comic Practice and the Strolling Players
  1. 1. Birth of a Comic Form
  2. pp. 17-37
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  1. 2. Strolling Players and the Advent of the Fool
  2. pp. 38-59
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  1. 3. Practice of Stage Interaction
  2. pp. 60-78
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  1. 4. The Fool’s Space and Time
  2. pp. 79-90
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  1. Part II Fabricating Comedy and the Fate of the Fool in the Age of Reform
  1. 5. Making Comedy Whole
  2. pp. 93-112
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  1. 6. Biases in Precedent
  2. pp. 113-127
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  1. 7. Sanitation and Unity
  2. pp. 128-146
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  1. 8. Comedic Plot, Comic Time, Dramatic Time
  2. pp. 147-164
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  1. Part III Life, Theater, and the Restoration of the Fool
  1. 9. Policey and the Legitimacy of Delight
  2. pp. 167-184
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  1. 10. The Place of Laughter in Life
  2. pp. 185-201
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  1. 11. National Literature I: Improvement
  2. pp. 202-219
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  1. 12. National Literature II: Custom
  2. pp. 220-236
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  1. Part IV The Vitality of Folly in Goethe’s Faust and Kleist’s Jug
  1. 13. Faust I: Setting the Stage
  2. pp. 239-256
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  1. 14. Faust II: Mirroring and Framing in the Form of Faust
  2. pp. 257-276
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  1. 15. Faust III: The Diabolical Comic
  2. pp. 277-299
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  1. 16. Antinomies of the Classical: On Kleist’s Broken Jug
  2. pp. 300-318
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  1. Postlude
  2. pp. 319-324
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 325-342
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 343-354
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501727122
Related ISBN
9781501727115
MARC Record
OCLC
1035784706
Pages
366
Launched on MUSE
2018-12-03
Language
English
Open Access
No
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