Notes on Lessing's "Beytrage zur Historie und Aufnahme des Theaters"

J. G. Robertson
1914 Modern Language Review  
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more » ... BEYTRAGE ZUR HISTORIE UND AUFNAHME DES THEATERS'.' III. TRANSLATIONS FROM THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN. (a) Voltaire's 'Lettres Anglaises.' THIS translation of two of the Lettres anglaises is generally attributed -on what ground, I do not know-to Mylius2; but the ascription may stand. There are expressions and phrases in the translation which, no doubt, recall Mylius rather than Lessing; Voltaire's description of Dryden as an 'auteur plus f6cond que judicieux' is, for instance, rendered: 'Er war ein Schriftsteller von mehr Witz als Beurtheilungskraft,' a frequently repeated phrase in the article with which Mylius opened the Beytrdge. The translation, which was not the first into German8, was made from either the Amsterdam edition of Voltaire's (Euvres (1738-39, Vol. Iv), or, with greater probability, from the Geneva edition of the (Euvres melees (1742, Vol. IV)4, and is fluent and, on the whole, literal. Whether we be convinced of Mylius's handiwork in the translation or not, it is perhaps open to question, if he is to be held responsible for the two footnotes which are added to the translation. The first of these: Weil der Herr von Voltaire beynahe der einzige ist, der utter seinen Laudsleuten unparteyisch und vortheilhaft von der Schaubiihne der Englander geurtheilet hat, so haben wir fur billig gehalten seiner Urtheile und Nachrichten davon uns zuerst zu bedienen. So riihmlich den Englandern der Beyfall des Herrn von Voltaire ist, so wenig nachtheilig konnen ihnen die seichten und ungegrtindeten Spittereyen des Abbe le Blanc seyn (p. 96),
doi:10.2307/3713001 fatcat:o3qhfptg6bhzrhkcylzvziftdq