Spotlight on Conference Speaker – Natalya Baldyga

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Some of our delegates have shared examples of their recent and ongoing research and as a preview to our upcoming conference here is a taster of what interesting projects and research some of our speakers are engaged in:

Speaker: Natalya Baldyga, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Drama and Dance, Tufts University

Lessing’s Hamburg Dramaturgy: A New and Complete Translation

The site hosts the peer-to-peer review of the first complete, annotated English translation of G. E. Lessing’s Hamburg Dramaturgy, translated by Wendy Arons and Sara Figal, and edited by Natalya Baldyga. The project is currently under contract with Routledge Press, which has allowed us to prepublish our work here for open review. The draft manuscript with comments will remain live here even after the translation has been published. The published book will incorporate comments and suggestions made here into the final version of the annotated translation, and it will be enhanced by the addition of critical introductions contributed by Wendy Arons, Natalya Baldyga, and Michael Chemers.

While Lessing made numerous contributions to aesthetic theory in his lifetime, the text that most cogently and comprehensively documents his dramatic theory—and the text that has had the greatest historical and intellectual influence on the practice and theory of theater—is the Hamburg Dramaturgy (Hamburgische Dramaturgie, 1767-1769). This  collection of 101 short essays represents one of the first sustained critical engagements with the potential of theater as a vehicle for the advancement of humanistic discourse.

We imagine that if Lessing were alive today, the interactive dialogue made possible by the open peer review platform hosted at mediacommons would appeal to him immensely; he was a firm believer in the value of discourse and criticism. He published his essays serially, in pamphlet form, over the course of two years; our translation will also appear serially, on this site, for three years beginning in the fall of 2012. [1] Our aim is to produce a translation that will engage contemporary Anglophone readers and convey the edgy liveliness that captivated eighteenth-century readers; this requires translation choices that may be open to debate, discussion, and even controversy. We invite Lessing scholars to weigh in on our word choices in translating theoretically significant terms; teachers and students of German to comment on our approach to decoding grammar and syntax; historians to give feedback on our annotations; and literary theorists and theater artists to dialogue with this historical text that, in many ways, speaks to modern concerns. For those wishing to consult the German text, a version can be found online at Project Gutenberg.  Our source text is from Werke und Briefe in zwölf Bänden. Herausgegeben von Wilfried Barner zusammen mit Klaus Bohnen … [et al.]. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1985-2003. Text in blue indicates material that is omitted by Helen Zimmern in her 1890 translation of The Hamburg Dramaturgy (reprinted by Dover in 1962).

The site is structured to allow you to engage with our work by holding conversations in the margins of the text. –

Full details available here: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/hamburg/

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