Little Detours: The Letters and Plays of Luise Gottsched [1713-1762]
The Letters and Plays of Luise Gottsched [1713-1762]
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.