Bürgerliches Trauerspiel



  • (German: bourgeois tragedy) A German theatrical genre of the late18th century, largely inspired by English domestic tragedies, suchas those of George Lillo (1693 - 1739). Lillo's The LondonMerchant; or the History of George Barnwell (1731; seeGeorge Barnwell) had a direct influence on thefirst important Bürgerliches Trauerspiel, Lessing'sMiss Sara Sampson (1755). Lessing later contributed EmiliaGalotti (1772) to the genre, while Schiller also described hisLove and Intrigue (1783) as a Bürgerliches Trauerspiel.

    The genre treated the homes of the German bourgeoisie, thenincreasing in status and power, as apt settings for heroic conflictsonce restricted to aristocratic milieux. The BürgerlichesTrauerspiel thus foreshadowed the plays of Henrik Ibsen, GerhardHauptmann, and the naturalist playwrights of the latter half of the19th century.