Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature. In 1770 he became a librarian at the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel. Lessing was a poet, philosopher and critic. As an outstanding representative of the German Enlightenment, he became the leading figure for the new self-confidence of the bourgeoisie. His theoretical and critical writings are remarkable for their often witty and ironic style and their unerring polemics. Early in his life, Lessing showed interest in the theatre. He tried to contribute to the development of a new bourgeois theatre in Germany. Today his own works appear as prototypes of the later developed bourgeois German drama. Miss Sara Sampson and Emilia Galotti are seen as the first bourgeois tragedies, Minna Von Barnhelm; or, The Soldier's Fortune (1767) as the model for many classic German comedies, Nathan the Wise (1779) as the first ideological idea drama ("Ideendrama").