Lessing: The Founder of Modern German Literature by Garland H B

By Garland H B

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3. BRIEF HAPPINESS Lessing returned to his duties with the firm determination to secure better financial conditions, which would enable him to marry, or else to leave the Duke's service. The threat of departure had the desired effect. His salary was raised and he was granted a new residence with zoo thalers bonus; he was also accorded a substantial loan for the payment of his debts, and further received the title Hofrat. This was an appreciable improvement in his position and accordingly, when the negotiations were completed in July 1776, he began to press on the preparations for his wedding, which was to take place in October.

In Turin late in August Lessing began his Italian diary. But little of personal interest is to be found in it. It is devoted chiefly to notes on books to be read, on libraries, on the achievements of Italian scholars and so on. Lessing was never egocentric and was attentive rather to objects and events around him than to personal reactions and reflections. From Turin they passed through Pavia, Piacenza and Modena, then once more southward, this time to Rome. Neither the architectural beauties of Rome nor later the situation of Naples roused his interest.

His debts were considerable and he was obliged to sell the remainder of his library, part of which had already been disposed of in order to settle his debts in Berlin. The months dragged on in Hamburg and he seemed no nearer his departure. Offers of a post connected with the theatre came from Vienna, but after a brief period of reflection he rejected these. On the loth August, 1769, he wrote to Nicolai that he was still firmly resolved on the Italian journey. THE ZENITH Shortly afterwards in September, however, Lessing's Brunswick friend, Ebert, sent him a proposition which made Lessing pause.

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