Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) was a German
author, playwright and
critic. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica
: "He helped free
German drama from the influence of classical and French models and wrote the
first German plays of lasting importance".
Lessing was born in Kamenz, where his father was a pastor. In 1741 he was
sent to school at Meissen, and when he had finished there he went to the
University at Leipzig to study theology. Thereafter he went to Berlin,
where in 1755 his play Miss Sara Sampson was produced. After a
decade in Berlin (and occasionally Wittenburg), Lessing gained a post as
secretary to General Tauenzien. In 1760 he went with Tauenzien to Breslau,
where he wrote his comedy Minna von Barnhelm (published in 1763) and
Laocoon (published in 1766).
In approximately 1767/8, Lessing moved to Hamburg to help in establishing a new theatre. He wrote his Dramaturgie during his time at Hamburg. In 1770 Lessing took up a post as a librarian at Wolfenbüttel, which he
retained until his death. Lessing completed his Emilia Galotti in
1772, and his Nathan der Weise in 1779. He died in early 1781.
I have noded six of Lessing's short fables and given rough English
translations of them. I list these below: