Christian's Blog

1. In terms of this research project, what have you been thinking about this week?

This week I have been very frustrated about not having access to a translated Gryphius play. I mean how is the most famous playwright of this time not translated into the English language? Come on. While reading this book titled 'The Constructive Art of Gryphius' Historical tragedies' I have been frustrated by the author stating something in German and never going on to explain what it means in English. Although it is nice that the author breaks down the dramatic action of the play for you. I've been thinking a lot about how this man doesn't seem to be a playwright, rather a stealer of ideas. The story of his most famous play is almost directly copied from history and before he wrote Leo Armenius, Gryphius saw a production of it in Rome! Reminds me a lot of the playwright Christopher Hampton... Great translator of other's ideas, but not so great at their own ideas.

2. If you have undertaken any research, what did you discover?

Well I discovered that none of his tragedies are his own ideas. They are all taken from history. Gryphius supported the monarchy. See above.

3. How might you relate this research to your work in other classes or rehearsal?

I think this research will make me more skeptical of what is a 'factual' source. I feel very weary towards history books now, and will instead look at multiple sources instead of getting one idea of 'correct' in my mind. This wider scope I think will allow me to understand something fuller and through different lenses.

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Re: Blog 1
Your answer to question three is important. More than just consulting multiple sources, keep thinking about how each and every source has its own biases and politics. This means that we always need to think about what a particular writer hopes to accomplish through her/his writing.

That idea is related to the identity of "stealer of ideas" that you keep running across. Rather than allowing that tag to be applied to Gryphius uncritically, I wonder if you could consider the following questions: Why might Gryphius want to borrow and re-present a specific historical story in his present time/space? Is he perhaps a perfect example of a theatre historiographer, insofar as he seems to be utilizing theatrical conventions to (re)write history? In terms of the sources that depict him as a thief, how are those authors legitimizing what counts as history? Why is the "new" so important? Why the focus on "originality"? The point of all these questions is to problematize the ways in which authors fix/isolate/trap historical figures in one pose.

To develop more specific entries in the future, consider answering these questions that I've posed here, or drag text from one of your sources into your journal entry. You can analyze text in the journal just like you do for the annotated bibliography, and doing so will allow you to develop more thorough reflections.

GRADE: 90%

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