This essay looks at two theatrical pieces, Lessing’s tragedy Emilia Galotti and Mozart’s ‘opera seria’ Lucio Silla (which both premiered in 1772), as case studies in defining the relationship between Enlightenment and public citizenship. My reading seeks to identify the political dimension of both dramas – a dimension that does not manifest itself in the form of a proposed political program, but rather through the dilemmas faced by the (female) protagonists in both dramas and the solutions they propose. Both dramas open up a space for what can be perceived and articulated as relevant in the public domain. This paper also asks the question of how we are to interpret the role of specific genres (tragedy and opera seria) in relation to society. Taking a number of ideas of Jacques Rancière as its starting point, the paper proposes a new way of reading the political in relation to the aesthetic in the late eighteenth century. Finally, the comparison between Lucio Silla and Emilia Galotti is used for a series of deliberations on the state of comparative literary and cultural studies today.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Taking Stock – Twenty-Five Years of Comparative Literary Research|
|Editors||Norbert Bachleitner, Achim Hölter, John A McCarthy|
|State||Published - Oct 22 2019|
|Name||Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft|