Shakespeare has been a central figure in German literature and theatre. This book tells the story of Shakespeare in the German-speaking theatre against the background of German culture and politics in the twentieth century. It follows the earlier volume by Simon Williams on the reception of Shakespeare during the previous 300 years (Shakespeare on the German Stage, 1586–1914). Hortmann concentrates on the two most important and fruitful periods: the years of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the turbulent decades of the sixties and seventies, when the German theatre was revitalised by a stormy marriage of avant-garde art and revolutionary politics. A section by Maik Hamburger covers developments in the theatres of the German Democratic Republic. Hortmann focuses on the most representative and colourful directors and actors, describing and illustrating individual productions as examples of particular trends or movements.Read more
- A cultural and political history as well as a theatre history
- A survey of the whole century, with representative productions and personalities described in detail
- 125 black and white illustrations
Reviews & endorsements
Review of the hardback: 'The survey offered by Hortmann and Hamburger is of the highest standard.' George Steiner, The Times Literary SupplementSee more reviews
Review of the hardback: '… this is a remarkable piece of work that will be of interest to more than Shakespeare scholars. In fact, as Shakespeare has been so central a figure in the repertoire of the German theatre, this book effectively represents a history of that theatre … Hortmann has the capacity to capture past productions, even those he quite obviously cannot have seen, in a very arresting way. He has an eye for telling detail, that can do so much to make a production memorable.' Simon Williams
Review of the hardback: 'German Shakespeare theatre in all its changeful twists and turns is firmly embedded in its cultural and historical context. Developments and trends are concisely depicted, a gallery of fascinating theatre personalities is brought to life. I enjoyed both the author's clear grasp of his subject as well as the sheer elegance of his style. A book to browse in as well as to read from cover to cover.' Ingeborg Boltz
Review of the hardback: 'There are three histories here: Shakespeare performance, the backdrop of German theatre in the twentieth century, and the larger encompassing story of German culture and politics. Each of them is told with great knowledge, astonishing clarity, and self-effacing wit. There is no book like this in English, and to my knowledge, none like it in German either.' Dennis Kennedy
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- Date Published: October 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521121682
- length: 520 pages
- dimensions: 246 x 27 x 189 mm
- weight: 0.92kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Old traditions and new beginnings
2. Shakespeare theatre in the Weimar Republic (1919–1933)
3. Shakespeare in the Third Reich (1933–1945)
4. Shakespeare on the postwar stage - continuity or a fresh start?
5. Transvaluations: Shakespeare and the revolution of the West German stage (1964–1979)
6. Reconstruction, deconstruction, postmodernism: rediscovering Shakespeare in the eighties
7. Theatre under socialism: Shakespeare in East Germany
8. The end of an epoch - and some new faces.
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