Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic. He is widely considered one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Nathan the Wise

    "Nathan the Wise" is a 18th-century play that explores religious tolerance and interfaith understanding. The story is set in Jerusalem during the Third Crusade and revolves around Nathan, a wealthy Jewish merchant, who is renowned for his wisdom and generosity. The narrative explores themes of religious tolerance as Nathan interacts with a Templar knight, a Christian patriarch, and the Muslim sultan Saladin. The story culminates with the revelation that the main characters, despite their different faiths, are all part of the same family, thus promoting a message of shared humanity and religious coexistence.

    The 3731st Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Laocoön

    The book in question is a seminal work in the field of aesthetics and art criticism that explores the differences between painting and poetry. Through a detailed examination of the ancient sculpture of Laocoön and the related texts, the author argues that visual arts and literature operate under different rules and are best suited to different kinds of expression. The author posits that while painting uses shapes and colors in space to depict a single moment in time, poetry unfolds over time and uses language to describe a sequence of actions, thus allowing for the depiction of more complex narratives. This distinction is famously encapsulated in the discussion of the "pregnant moment" in visual arts, which captures the most telling moment of a story, and the dynamic progression of events in literature.

    The 6195th Greatest Book of All Time