Friday, 17 March 2017

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and the Herzog August Library (Germany)

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist and art critic. He was one of the most important persons of the Enlightenment era in Germany and had an important impact on German literature. His most important works include Nathan the Wise, Emilia Galotti and Minna of Barnhelm. He died in 1781 in Braunschweig.

Lessing stamp from the
series Great Germans (issued 28-06-1961)
 In 1770 Lessing became librarian at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel.

The Herzog August Library was founded by Duke Julius of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1572. It houses a large collection of manuscripts of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period and is one of the oldest libraries in the World which have never suffered loss to its collection. Today it is a major international research centre for Medieval and Early Modern culture. Some of the documents from its collection are part of the Memory of the World Programme of the UNESCO.

The Lessinghaus was built next to the library in 1733 as residence for court officials. In 1777 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing moved to the house. There he lived until his death in 1781 and wrote his play Nathan the Wise. Today it is owned by the Herzog August Library and houses a museum about Lessing's life and work.

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