Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin

January 1998
11 black and white illustrations
198 pages
22.8x15.2 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571131263
Format: Hardback
Camden House

Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin

Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht

Richard Bodek

out of stock

New study of the revolutionary theatre of the Weimar republic, examining its interplay with socialist and communist politics.
The late years of the Weimar republic were a time of disillusionment and economic disintegration, and nowhere were the forces competing for the political allegiances of the working class more active than in Berlin. This book examines the interplay of socialist and communist politics with the world of the working class and particularly its younger people. Drawing on sources such as newspaper articles, the text of agitprop plays, festival and concert programmes, and police reports, Professor Bodek provides a new angle on the forces at work in the proletarian sphere during the period, and highlights the different aesthetics and political theories of Social Democratic workers' choruses and Communist agitprop theatre. Particular attention is given to the latter, whose troupes wrote and performed their own material, thus acting as a medium for communication of the Communist Party's political line: to understand the troupes, the life of working-class youth of the time is investigated, describing and analysing unemployment, housing, education, and leisure activities, and examining its relationship to the Weimar state through its members' own eyes.


Taking a new historical approach to cultural economics, Bodek focuses on the socioeconomic milieu of the working class.... CHOICE
Creates a rich image of working-class living conditions and the cultural politics of late Weimar Berlin. THE BRECHT YEARBOOK
Informative and fascinating from beginning to end. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW
The centerpiece of this pithy book is a path-breaking examination of Communist agitprop theater in late Weimar Berlin. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY
Gives an excellent background of the conditions of the working class in Weimar Berlin. MODERN DRAMA 'Bodek breaks new ground by demonstrating through an exhaustive programme analysis how the DASB became more militant... useful remarks on the links between Hanns Eisler and both the DASB and the agitprop groups.' MLR '[The] study makes an important contribution to the study of Weimar culture.' GERMAN HISTORY

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