Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The study follows the various stages through which the Journal encyclopédique records the claims and reforms having allowed the XVIIIth century German theatre to shake off the « great barbary » weighing on the traditional style of Haupt- und Staatsaktion and popular theatre. The first reviews bring out a brilliant Vienna stage mainly devoted to opera and danse, with an attempt by F.W. Weiskern to upgrade them. The care for a « Germanizing » of the repertoire highlights the Swedish model. A Lettre sur le théâtre allemand describes in 1756 the great poverty of the German theatre, due to its practical organization as well as to a pervasive presence of the pantaloon Hanswurst. The sanitation brought by Gottsched and Karoline Neuber, primarily under the influence of the French theater, is emphasized. But the Journal encyclopédique, two years later, does not appear insensible to the burlesque charms of J. Kurz’s « Bernardoniade » (1758). It does not give room to Gellert’s theatre, for reasons probably linked with his dramatic style and his criticism of French fashion : the author is chiefly praised as a fabulist. The Journal thus extolls Haller’s and Gesner’s Swiss genre, which introduces a « schism » in the literary German world, between Zurich and Leipzig. But it draws a shattering picture of the production of the Helvetian Bodmer, for the benefit of the supporters of the other town. The good reception granted to Klopstock and his Adam’s Death marks the accession of the German theatre to the circle of European literatures and Vienna’s final deletion as a candidate to the status of German « literary capital ». However, the « encyclopedic Journal », related to the national spirit of Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s enterprise, cannot accept that Klopstock’s drama would be put to the rank of the French classical tragedies.