“Now, for the first time, it came to my mind to compare church to theatre” Theatre Events as Secular Epiphanies in Autobiographical Writing Cover Image
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„Nun fiel es mir zum ersten Male ein, die Kirche mit dem Theater zu vergleichen“ - Theaterereignisse als säkulare Erweckungserlebnisse
“Now, for the first time, it came to my mind to compare church to theatre” Theatre Events as Secular Epiphanies in Autobiographical Writing

Author(s): Sabine Gruber
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Slovanský ústav Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i. and Euroslavica

Summary/Abstract: In autobiographies as well as in literary works of the late 18th and the early 19th centuries, the first encounter of young people with theatre is often described in accordance with patterns of biblical conversions or medieval lives of the saints (e.g. in the autobiographical notes by Johann Karl Liebich, August von Kotzebue und August Wilhelm Iffland but also in “Wilhelm Meister” and “Anton Reiser”). The reason for the fact that analogies between theatre and church could be discussed from the late 18th century only, can be found in the differentiation of the system of art as an independent system in this age. The comparisons were meant to promote careers dedicated to the theatre in the age of change in German- -language theatre and to emphasize that theatre, similar to religion, is not subservient to anything. Careers of theatre makers were described as careers connected to a “choice” by art that permitted a life in a distance from banalities of everyday life. It is in rare occasions only that careers dedicated to theatre were interpreted as doomed.

  • Issue Year: XXV/2014
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 32-42
  • Page Count: 11