Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

(redirected from J. M. R. Lenz)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lenz, Jakob Michael Reinhold


Born Jan. 12, 1751, in Sesswegen, in former Livland; died May 24, 1792, in Moscow. German writer and playwright.

The son of a pastor, Lenz went to Königsberg to study theology in 1768. In 1771, Lenz joined the circle of “stormy geniuses” headed by J. W. van Goethe in Strasbourg and became one of the theoreticians of the Sturm und Drang movement. Lenz led a restless existence. In 1781 he moved to Russia, where he became close to N. I. Novikov’s circle. In his Notes on the Theater (1774), Lenz argued against the aesthetics of classicism and proclaimed art to be free from normative rules; he demanded the creation of vivid and original characters. His article “On the Use of the German Language” (1775) urged writers to study popular speech.

Lenz’ plays are characterized by a mixture of the tragic and comic and by free, “Shakespearean” composition. His plays are imbued with antifeudal feelings—for example, The Tutor (1774) and Soldiers (1776). Lenz’s poetry resembled Goethe’s early love lyrics.


Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1–4, 2nd ed. Edited by E. Lewy. Leipzig, 1917.
In Russian translation:
“Soldaty” [excerpts]. In Khrestomatiia po zapadnoevropeiskoi literature: Literatura vosemnadtsatogo veka. Moscow, 1938. Pages 556–63.


Rozanov, M. N. Poet perioda “burnykh stremlenii” Iakob Lents, ego zhizn’ i proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1901.
Kindermann, H. J. M. R. Lenz und die deutsche Romantik. Vienna-Leipzig, 1935.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
J. M. R. Lenz: Sozioanalyse einer literarischen Laufbahn.
'Die Wunde Lenz': J. M. R. Lenz. Leben, Werk und Rezeption.
(1) J. M. R. Lenz, Werke und Briefe in drei Banden, ed.
Martin, 'A Note on the Major Plays of J. M. R. Lenz', GLL, 31 (1977-78), 77-87; J.
Unpopular Virtues: The Critical Reception of J. M. R. Lenz. By ALAN C.
In its episodic and anti-classical manner, it is demonstrably influenced by the plays of J. M. R. Lenz, which were published in the 1770s.
Oberlin's account of the real J. M. R. Lenz. (6) Oberlin, who lived from 1740 to 1826, was the spiritual and practical benefactor of the grindingly poor mountain parish in Alsace, where he stayed for fifty-nine years.