A Translation of some of Lessing's works has long been contemplated for 'Bonn's Standard Library,' and the publishers are glad to be able to bring it out at a time when an increased appreciation of this writer has become manifest in this country.
The publication of Mr. Sime's work on Lessing, and the almost simultaneous appearance of Miss Helen Zimmern's shorter but probably more popular biographical study, will, without doubt, tend to spread amongst English-speaking people a knowledge of a writer who is held in peculiar reverence by his own countrymen; and there is little, if anything, of what he wrote that does not appeal in some way or other to the sympathies of Englishmen.
In this translation it is purposed to include the most popular of his works--the first two volumes comprising all the finished dramatic pieces, whilst the third will contain the famous 'Laokoon,' and a large portion of the 'Hamburg Dramaturgy' (here called 'Dramatic Notes'), and some other smaller pieces.
The arrangement of the plays is as follows:--The first volume contains the three tragedies and the “dramatic poem,” 'Nathan the Wise.' This last piece and 'Emilia Galotti' are translated by Mr. R. Dillon Boylan, whose English versions of Schiller's 'Don Carlos,' Goethe's 'Wilhelm Meister,' &c., had previously distinguished him in this path of literature.
The second volume will be found to consist entirely of comedies, arranged according to the date of composition; and as it happens that all these comedies, with the exception of the last and best, 'Minna von Barnhelm,' were written before he published any more serious dramatic composition, we have, by reversing the order of the first two volumes, an almost exactly chronological view of Lessing's dramatic work. The later section of it has been placed at the commencement of the series, simply because it was more convenient to include in it the introductory notice which Miss Zimmern kindly consented to write…