Finalist, 2017 Theatre Library Association George Freedley Memorial Award
Shortlist, 2019 Prague Quadrennial Best Scenography and Design Publication Award
The Director's Prism investigates how and why three of Russia's most innovative directors— Vsevolod Meyerhold, Alexander Tairov, and Sergei Eisenstein—used the fantastical tales of German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann to reinvent the rules of theatrical practice. Because the rise of the director and the Russian cult of Hoffmann closely coincided, Posner argues, many characteristics we associate with avant-garde theater—subjective perspective, breaking through the fourth wall, activating the spectator as a co-creator—become uniquely legible in the context of this engagement. Posner examines the artistic poetics of Meyerhold's grotesque, Tairov's mime-drama, and Eisenstein's theatrical attraction through production analyses, based on extensive archival research, that challenge the notion of theater as a mirror to life, instead viewing the director as a prism through whom life is refracted. A resource for scholars and practitioners alike, this groundbreaking study provides a fresh, provocative perspective on experimental theater, intercultural borrowings, and the nature of the creative process.
Ranging from macabre fantasies to fairy tales and tales of crime, these stories from the author of The Nutcracker create a rich fictional world. Hoffman paints a complex vision of humanity, where people struggle to establish identities in a hostile, absurd world.
"The editors have made an excellent selection, and the result is a book of great distinction."—Denis Donoghue, New York Review of Books
"The translators have proved fully equal to all the challenges of Hoffmann's romantic irony and his richly allusive prose, giving us an accurate and idiomatic rendering that also retains much of the original flavor."—Harry Zohn, Saturday Review