Nestroy, Johann Nepomuk

Nestroy, Johann Nepomuk

(yō`hän nā`pōmo͝ok nĕs`troi), 1802–62, Austrian dramatist and actor. A successful performer in comedies and operettas, he later proved himself a brilliant writer of farces and satires. He wrote over 60 plays, including Lumpacivagabundus (1833), a parody of Raimund's Verschwender; On the Ground Floor and the First Story (1835), which uses a split stage to demonstrate class differences; and Freedom in Krahwinkel (1948), a political satire. His critical wit and flouting of Viennese censure kept him in constant conflict with authorities, and he was imprisoned more than once. Although his reputation has been revived, his popularity is restricted to the German-speaking world because of his dialect and the complexity of his wordplay.

Nestroy, Johann Nepomuk

 

Born Dec. 7, 1801, in Vienna; died May 25, 1862, in Graz. Austrian playwright, actor, and theatrical figure. Studied law. Active in the Austrian revolution of 1848–49.

In 1822, Nestroy made his stage debut at the Vienna court theater as an opera singer. From 1831 to 1854 he acted in dramatic roles. Both a comic actor and an exceptional character actor, Nestroy had an inclination for the grotesque and for improvisation. He was especially successful in his own plays, the first of which was written in 1827. He was the author of satirical comedies of pointed sociopolitical content, which expressed the opposition sentiments of the liberal Austrian bourgeoisie on the eve of the revolution of 1848. Nestroy’s comedies included The Evil Spirit Lumpazivagabundus or the Dissipated Threesome (1833), On the First and Second Floor (1835), A Man Full of Nothing (1846), and Freedom Comes to Krähwinkel (1848). They were original works, closely akin to the folk traditions of farce, and influenced L. Anzengruber and other Austrian dramatists.

WORKS

Sämstliche Werke, vols. 1–15. Edited by O. Rommel and F. Brukner. Vienna, 1924–30.
In Russian translation:
Tuda i siuda, ili Kur’eznyi zaklad. St. Petersburg, 1880.

REFERENCES

Forst-Battaglia, O. Johann Nestroy. Munich, 1962.
Preisner, Rio. Johann Nepomuk Nestroy: Tvŭrce tragické fraŝky. Prague, 1968.
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