Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz: Vom Sturm und Drang zur Moderne.
Individual chapters discuss, as well as Goethe and Schiller, such other Sturmer und Dranger as Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg, Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Heinrich Leopold Wagner, Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, and Johann Anton Leisewitz, and briefer accounts of Hamann, Herder, Lavater, C.D.F.
Lenz und die Mimesis: Eine Untersuchung der Nachahmungsproblematik bei Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz (1751-1792).