After Brecht: British Epic Theater is the first book to fully explore contemporary British drama in the light of the influence of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Focusing on the work of Howard Brenton, Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, Trevor Griffiths, and John McGrath, the book examines Brechtian techniques and style within the work of each playwright, while highlighting the divergent development of each.
The book has been enriched by the author's in-depth conversations with the playwrights. The topics covered include contemporary politics and the theater, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and such well-known fringe companies as Foco Novo, Joint Stock, Portable Theatre, and 7:84. Reinelt examines each playwright within an interpretive frame drawn from an application of Brecht's theories and practice to the historically specific situation of post-war British theater.
The book will appeal to those interested in the relationship between politics and art and contemporary European theater and its antecedents.
"After Brecht represents the best and most detailed engagement with the contemporary British theater scene to date." --Stanton B. Garner, Jr.
"This fine study . . . confronts issues that are important to all students and practitioners of the theater. Sensitive to the uniqueness of each of the playwrights in her study, Reinelt demonstrates that Brechtian theory can be modified in many ways by those who share the belief that 'politics and aesthetics are inseparably linked.'" --Choice
Janelle Reinelt is Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art and Dance, University of California-Davis.
If you were looking for a philosopher likely to appeal to Americans, Friedrich Nietzsche would be far from your first choice. After all, in his blazing career, Nietzsche took aim at nearly all the foundations of modern American life: Christian morality, the Enlightenment faith in reason, and the idea of human equality. Despite that, for more than a century Nietzsche has been a hugely popular—and surprisingly influential—figure in American thought and culture.
In American Nietzsche, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and America’s reception of it, to tell the story of his curious appeal. Beginning her account with Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom the seventeen-year-old Nietzsche read fervently, she shows how Nietzsche’s ideas first burst on American shores at the turn of the twentieth century, and how they continued alternately to invigorate and to shock Americans for the century to come. She also delineates the broader intellectual and cultural contexts within which a wide array of commentators—academic and armchair philosophers, theologians and atheists, romantic poets and hard-nosed empiricists, and political ideologues and apostates from the Left and the Right—drew insight and inspiration from Nietzsche’s claims for the death of God, his challenge to universal truth, and his insistence on the interpretive nature of all human thought and beliefs. At the same time, she explores how his image as an iconoclastic immoralist was put to work in American popular culture, making Nietzsche an unlikely posthumous celebrity capable of inspiring both teenagers and scholars alike.
A penetrating examination of a powerful but little-explored undercurrent of twentieth-century American thought and culture, American Nietzsche dramatically recasts our understanding of American intellectual life—and puts Nietzsche squarely at its heart.
In recent years Nietzsche has emerged as a presiding genius of our intellectual epoch. Although scholars have noted the influence of Nietzsche's thought on Wallace Stevens, the publication of Early Stevens establishes, for the first time, the extent to which Nietzsche pervades Steven's early work. Concentrating on poems published between 1915 and 1935—but moving occasionally into later poems, as well as letters and essays—B. J. Leggett draws together texts of Stevens and Nietzsche to produce new and surprising readings of the poet's early work. This intertextual critique reveals previously undisclosed ideologies operating at the margins of Stevens's work, enabling Leggett to read aspects of the poetry that have until now been unreadable. Leggett's analysis demonstrates that the Nietzschean presence in Stevens brings with it certain assumptions that need to be made explicit if the form of the poetry is to be understood. Though many critics have discussed the concept of intertextuality, few have attempted a truly intertextual reading of a particular poet. Early Stevens not only develops an exemplary model of such a reading; it also provides crucial insights into Stevens's notions of femininity, virility, and poetry and elucidates the notions of art, untruth, fiction, and interpretation in both Stevens and Nietzsche.
Emerson, Romanticism, and Intuitive Reason is a comparative study in transatlantic Romanticism, focusing on Emerson’s part in the American dialogue with British Romanticism and, as filtered through Coleridge, German Idealist philosophy. The book’s guiding theme is the concept of intuitive Reason, which Emerson derived from Coleridge’s distinction between Understanding and Reason and which Emerson associated with that “light of all our day” in his favorite stanza of Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.” Intuitive Reason became the intellectual and emotional foundation of American Transcendentalism. That light radiated out to illuminate Emerson’s life and work, as well as the complex and often covert relationship of a writer who, however fiercely “self-reliant” and “original,” was deeply indebted to his transatlantic precursors.
The debt is intellectual and personal. Emerson’s supposed indifference to, or triumph over, repeated familial tragedy is often attributed to his Idealism—a complacent optimism that blinded him to any vision of the tragic. His “art of losing” may be better understood as a tribute to the “healing power,” the consolation in distress, which Emerson considered Wordsworth’s principal value. The second part of this book traces Emerson’s struggle—with the help of the “benignant influence” shed by that “light of all our day”—to confront and overcome personal tragedy, to attain the equilibrium epitomized in Wordsworth’s “Elegiac Stanzas”: “Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.”
As a study in what has been called “the paradox of originality,” the book should appeal to those interested in the Anglo-American Romantic tradition and the innovations of the individual talent—especially in the capacity of a writer such as Emerson not only to absorb his precursors but also to use them as a stimulus to his own creative power.
In this interdisciplinary cultural history that encompasses film, literature, music, and drama, Inez Hedges follows the thread of the Faustian rebel in the major intellectual currents of the last hundred years. She presents Faust and his counterpart Mephistopheles as antagonistic— yet complementary— figures whose productive conflict was integral to such phenomena as the birth of narrative cinema, the rise of modernist avant-gardes before World War II, and feminist critiques of Western cultural traditions.
Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles pursues a dialectical approach to cultural history. Using the probing lens of cultural studies, Hedges shows how claims to the Faustian legacy permeated the struggle against Nazism in the 1930s while infusing not only the search for socialist utopias in Russia, France, and Germany, but also the quest for legitimacy on both sides of the Cold War divide after 1945.
Hedges balances new perspectives on such well-known works as Thomas Mann’ s Dr. Faustus and Jack Kerouac’ s Dr. Sax with discussions of previously overlooked twentieth-century expressions of the Faust myth, including American film noir and the Faust films of Stan Brakhage. She evaluates musical compositions— Hanns Eisler’ s Faust libretto, the opera Votre Faust by Henri Pousseur and Michel Butor, and Alfred Schnittke’ s Faust Cantata— as well as works of fiction and drama in French and German, many of which have heretofore never been discussed outside narrow disciplinary confines.
Enhanced by twenty-four illustrations, Framing Faust provides a fascinating and focused narrative of some of the major cultural struggles of the past century as seen through the Faustian prism, and establishes Faust as an important present-day frame of reference.
The modern research university is a global institution with a rich history that stretches into an ivy-laden past, but for as much as we think we know about that past, most of the writings that have recorded it are scattered across many archives and, in many cases, have yet to be translated into English. With this book, Paul Reitter, Chad Wellmon, and Louis Menand bring a wealth of these important texts together, assembling a fascinating collection of primary sources—many translated into English for the first time—that outline what would become the university as we know it.
The editors focus on the development of American universities such as Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and the Universities of Chicago, California, and Michigan. Looking to Germany, they translate a number of seminal sources that formulate the shape and purpose of the university and place them next to hard-to-find English-language texts that took the German university as their inspiration, one that they creatively adapted, often against stiff resistance. Enriching these texts with short but insightful essays that contextualize their importance, the editors offer an accessible portrait of the early research university, one that provides invaluable insights not only into the historical development of higher learning but also its role in modern society.
The German-American relationship was special long before the Cold War; it was rooted not simply in political actions, but also long-term traditions of cultural exchange that date back to the nineteenth century. Between 1850 and 1910, the United States was a rising star in the international arena, and several European nations sought to strengthen their ties to the republic by championing their own cultures in America. While France capitalized on its art and Britain on its social ties and literature, Germany promoted its particular breed of classical music.
Delving into a treasure trove of archives that document cross-cultural interactions between America and Germany, Jessica Gienow-Hecht retraces these efforts to export culture as an instrument of nongovernmental diplomacy, paying particular attention to the role of conductors, and uncovers the remarkable history of the musician as a cultural symbol of German cosmopolitanism. Considered sexually attractive and emotionally expressive, German players and conductors acted as an army of informal ambassadors for their home country, and Gienow-Hecht argues that their popularity in the United States paved the way for an emotional elective affinity that survived broken treaties and several wars and continues to the present.
Building upon his earlier book The Death of the German Cousin (1986), renowned author Peter Edgerly Firchow focuses Strange Meetings on major modern British writers from Eliot to Auden and explores the development of British conceptions and misconceptions of Germany and Germans from 1910 to 1960.