||A lecture held by Friedrich Spielhagen, the noted author and literary critic, comparing Faust, Goethe's famous literary character, and Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". The works of the popular German writer Friedrich von Spielhagen (1829–1911) are considered representative of the social novel in Germany. A liberalist, he wrote often of social and political problems. Spielhagen was born on Feb. 24, 1829, in Magdeburg, Prussian Saxony (Germany). After studying at the universities of Berlin, Bonn, and Greifswald, he became a teacher in a gymnasium (high school) in Leipzig. After 1854 he became entirely involved with literature and an active partisan in democratic movements. His third novel, the four-volume Problematische Naturen (1861; Problematic Characters), was a remarkable success and considered one of the best works of its time. The hero is pulled in opposite directions by the democratic ideals of society and state and by the distractions of social life. This was followed by the four-volume Durch Nacht zum Licht (1862; Through Night to Light), the five-volume Hammer und Amboss (1869; Hammer and Anvil), and the three-volume Sturmflut (1877; The Breaking of the Storm). The last is a powerful romance, using a tempest that flooded the Baltic coast in 1872 as a symbol for the economic storm that burst on Berlin that same year.
Although 1860–76 is considered Spielhagen's most productive period, he produced many novels in later years. He also wrote dramas, including Hans und Grete (1868) and Liebe für Liebe (1875; Love for Love). Spielhagen died in Berlin on Feb. 25, 1911. Also important are his theoretical works on the techniques of drama, the novel, and the epic.
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's, "Nathan the Wise,", released in 1779, it produced a great stir among religious communities. In fact, the performance of the play was forbidden in churches. This is mainly due to the fact that the play called for religious tolerance. Readers find a protagonist that asks, "Are Jew and Christian sooner Jew and Christian than man?" (214), a Jew that plays the most rational being in the play, and a Muslim that is not only thoughtful--but also honorable. Meanwhile, the Templar decides to not fight in a religious battle. Although violence and pacifism were both themes in "Nathan the Wise," non-violence neither are none as concepts that Lessing frequently discussed. Freedom is, in fact, usually regarded as one of his cornerstone beliefs. He wanted to be free from the church and from convention art.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe's play, Faust: Part One, Faust, the main character, the scholarly Faust, explores the wonders of the world while dismissing his previous Enlightenment views. Faust makes a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles, and travels all over the world in order to learn things that can only be learned through experience. During his travels, Faust meets Margareta and falls in love with her. Although their relationship results in the death of Margareta’s brother, his love for her remains strong throughout Faust: Part One. Faust’s desire to continually learn more about the world keeps him bound to Mephistopheles and he suffers accordingly. The play follows Faust as his view of the world transforms and he has experiences he never would have come across had he maintained his Enlightenment views.