August Wilhelm Iffland

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iffland, August Wilhelm


Born Apr. 19, 1759, in Hannover; died Sept. 22, 1814, in Berlin. German actor, playwright, and director.

Iffland, the son of a pastor, received a religious education. From 1777 to 1779 he was an actor in the theater of Gotha. From 1779 to 1796 he performed in Mannheim Theater, becoming its principal director in 1792. Iffland began working in the Berlin Royal Theater in 1796. He portrayed Franz Moor and Phillip in Schiller’s The Robbers and Don Carlos, Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and the title role in Les-sing’s Nathan the Wise. His best performances were in his own plays or in plays written by A. von Kotzebue.

Iffland’s plays are representative of the genre known as bourgeois drama. In his plays Crime From Vainglory (1784) and The Hunters (1785; Russian translation, 1802) the virtuous little world of the burgher, into which evil intrudes in the person of the nobleman, is depicted. His only political drama, The Cockades (1791), reflects the events of the Great French Revolution and ends with the revolutionaries’ abandonment of their struggle. As a director, Iffland devoted a great deal of attention to the staging of a performance. His memoirs, My Career in Theater (1798; Russian translation, 1816), reflect his experiences.


Dramatische Werke, vols. 1–16. Leipzig, 1798–1802.


Troitskii, Z. “Avgust-Vil’gePm Iffland.” In Karl ZeideVman iformirovanie stsenicheskogo realizma v Germanii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Klingenberg, K. H. Iffland und Kotzebue als Dramatiker. Weimar, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It investigates the influences on and the development of the repertoire at the theatre, including the rise of Musiktheater during the 1770s, in order to demonstrate the extent to which the theatre's style and direction ran counter to Schiller's own dramatic instincts It explores the efforts he made to meet the theatre's requirement, for example by emphasizing his debt to Lessing, and the reasons for his rivalry with August Wilhelm Iffland.