By Olaf Berwald
The performs and prose works of the German author, director, and political activist Peter Weiss (1916-1982) have been immensely influential within the shaping of ecu Modernism within the moment half the 20 th century. Combining exploratory aesthetic openness with an uncompromising moral force, Weiss's literary works, in particular the performs Marat/Sade (1964), The research (1968), and Holderlin (1971), in addition to the unconventional The Aesthetics of Resistance (1975-81) proceed to supply important issues of reference for any dialogue of tradition and politics in our instances. Berwald's examine serves as a accomplished advent to Weiss's paintings and imaginative and prescient. The introductory bankruptcy outlines Weiss's existence and paintings in exile. 3 chapters offer particular discussions of Weiss's theater paintings, from his early gruesome performs and the documentary dramas from the Sixties that tackle Auschwitz, Angola, and Vietnam, to his most intricate performs within which intellectuals are staged as outsiders. the next 4 chapters speak about Weiss's prose works, which come with his autobiographical novels from the early Sixties, essays and notebooks on paintings and politics, and his summum opus, The Aesthetics of Resistance.
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Additional info for An Introduction to the Works of Peter Weiss (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
These plays examine to what degree economic and political systems can obliterate the dignity of the individual as well as creative thought. Weiss’s most famous play, Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade. Drama in zwei Akten (Marat/Sade), first written in 1963 and constantly revised until 1965, premiered in 1 Berlin in 1964, under the direction of Konrad Swinarski. Peter Brook’s productions of the play in London (1964) and on Broadway (1965), as well as his film version (1966), have earned the play worldwide success and have led to Weiss’s reputation as one of the twentieth century’s most important playwrights, along with Beckett and Brecht.
When a group of fathers requests that a new school be built, they are rounded up at night by troops and transported away on 26 trucks (239). While a representative of the regime expresses his satisfied view that everything was quiet in Angola (239), the chorus reports that the remains of the regime’s victims are thrown into the ocean from airplanes: Ein Flugzeug brachte das / was von den Männern übrig war / hinweg zum Meer in Säcken / Nach Tagen schwemmte dann die Flut / was übrig war zum Strand zurück / Arme Beine Rümpfe.
In scene 11, Lenin’s death is juxtaposed with his frustration about the disproportionate role of bureaucracy and with his growing fear of Stalin’s looming grab for power. Lenin is shown as sharing Trotsky’s fundamental doctrine that the revolution has to be spread all over the world. Stalin will later denounce this view as counterrevolutionary internationalism. Pressing his temples with his hands again, Lenin’s last reflections on the main structural dilemma of his political engineering project display angered resignation.
An Introduction to the Works of Peter Weiss (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture) by Olaf Berwald