The 14 essays in this collection range over 150 years of the Austrian comic tradition, from Blumauer in the late 18th century to Horvath in the 20th century. An introductory essay explores the notion of the comic tradition, while a central core of essays deals with the work of Johann Nestroy, one of the leading figures in the history of German-language comedy and Vienna's best known playwright. The essays range from detailed history and interpretation of individual plays to broader themes, such as music, parody and epic elements. Later essays feature classic texts (such as Hofmannsthal's "Der Schwiergie" and his libretti for "Arabella" and "Der Rosenkavalier"), and lesser known figures such as Johanna von Weissenthurn and Friedrich Halm are also spotlighted. As well as encompassing the various types of comic drama - the "Volkwsstuck", the comedy of manners, satire, parody and farce - the essays also include epic poetry (Blumauer) and journalism (Robert Scheu and Karl Kraus).
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