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Tragedy's Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedies and Cultural Identity in Germany since 1800 (Erika Fischer-Lichte) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2017) 9780199651634
Tragedy's Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedies and Cultural Identity in Germany since 1800 (Erika Fischer-Lichte) Hardcover Book, (Oxford University Press, 2017) 9780199651634
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Title: Tragedy's Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedies and Cultural Identity in Germany since 1800

Author: Fischer-Lichte, Erika

Publisher: Oxford University Press; Publication Date: 2017

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780199651634

Volumes: 1; Pages: 480

List Price in Hardcover: $115.00 Our price: $91.99

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This volume sets out a novel approach to theatre historiography, presenting the history of performances of Greek tragedies in Germany since 1800 as the history of the evolving cultural identity of the educated middle class throughout that period. Philhellenism and theatromania took hold in this milieu amidst attempts to banish the heavily French-influenced German court culture of the mid-eighteenth century, and by 1800 performances of Greek tragedies had effectively become the German answer to the French Revolution.

Tragedy's subsequent endurance on the German stage is mapped here through the responses of performances to particular political, social, and cultural milestones, from the Napoleonic Wars and the Revolution of 1848 to the Third Reich, the new political movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification. Images of ancient Greece which were prevalent in the productions of these different eras are examined closely: the Nazi's proclamation of a racial kinship between the Greeks and the Germans; the politicization of performances of Greek tragedies since the 1960s and 1970s, emblematized by Marcuse's notion of a cultural revolution; the protest choruses of the GDR and the subsequent new genre of choric theatre in unified Germany. By examining these images and performances in relation to their respective socio-cultural contexts, the volume sheds light on how, in a constantly changing political and cultural climate, performances of Greek tragedies helped affirm, destabilize, re-stabilize, and transform the cultural identity of the educated middle class over a volatile two hundred year period.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations


0. Introduction: Philhellenism and Theatromania

1. Only With Beauty Man Shall Play: Goethe's Production of Ion in Weimar (1802)

2. After the Institutionalization of Bildung: The Potsdam Antigone of 1841

3. Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk and Nietzsche's Vision of Ancient Greek Theatre

4. A Culture in Crisis: Max Reinhardt's Productions of Greek Tragedies (1903 19)

Sophocles'/Hofmannsthal's Electra Greek Maenad or Modern Hysteric?

Greek Tragedies in the Circus: Max Reinhardt's Theatre of the Five Thousand

5. Hailing a Racial Kinship: Performances of Greek Tragedies during the Third Reich

Resurrecting Ancient Greece in Nazi Germany the Oresteia as Part of the Olympic Games in 1936

Ancient Tragedies in Times of War the Case of Antigone

6. Of Guilt and Archetypes: Post-War Productions of Greek Tragedies in the 1940s and 50s

Oedipus and the Question of Collective Guilt

Brecht's Antigone as a Model for Epic Theatre

In Search of the 'Universal Human' Gustav Rudolf Sellner's Productions of Greek Tragedies in the 1950s

7. Inventing New Forms of Political Theatre

Linking Greek with other 'Naive' Cultures Benno Besson's Oedipus Tyrant

Lehrstucke on the Imminent Disintegration of the State

Topicalizing the Tragedies of Ancient Greece: Hans Neuenfels' Medea (1976) and Christoph Nel's Antigone (1978) in Frankfurt

8. On the Origins of Theatre and Its Link to the Past: The Schaubuhne's Antiquity Projects of 1974 and 1980

Antiquity Project I Peter Stein's Exercises for Actors and Klaus Michael Gruber's The Bacchae

Antiquity Project II Peter Stein's Oresteia: Reflections on the Historical Process

9. Choric Theatre: Between Tragic Experience and Participatory Democracy

The Re-Birth of Tragedy out of the Chorus

Choric Protests and a Peaceful Revolution

Towards the Utopia of a Participatory Democracy

10. Epilogue: The Return of Dionysus: From Festive Performance to Global Spectacle




I. Greek Tragedies

II. Other Works Cited

III. Reviews and Programme Notes Cited

IV. Online References

V. Films


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