The Magic Bishop

October 1998
18 black and white, 5 line illustrations
269 pages
28.8x15.2 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571131287
Format: Hardback
Camden House

The Magic Bishop

Hugo Ball, Dada Poet

Erdmute Wenzel White

out of stock

Pioneering study of undeservedly neglected figure in the early twentieth-century German literary world.
Hugo Ball (1886-1927), poet, musician, dancer, impresario, philosopher, was one of the brilliant literary figures of the early twentieth century. Working with some of the great artists of his time, including Kandinsky, von Laban, Tzara, and Hans Arp, he was at the cutting edge of modern thought as theatre director, Dada agitator and leading member of the luminous Berne circle.
This study takes a new look at Ball, providing above all a close reading of his texts, and focussing on works which are seen as open-ended or given to inventing their own form, including Tenderenda der Phantast, his abstract poem cycle 'Gadji beri bimba', and Simultan Krippenspiel, a 'noise concert' or opera, which enthralled his audience the night of May 31, 1916. The book deals first with Ball's education as an artist and with the important figures in his life, notably Max Reinhardt, Frank Wedekind, and Vassily Kandinsky, whose theoretical stance he came in part to adopt. Subsequent chapters examine his theatre work as actor, playwright, critic and dramaturge, comprising his years of apprenticeship in Berlin, Plauen and Munich.


Sheds new light on an author who is unfairly excluded from the canon.... This very readable work, with its useful and illuminating scholarship, is important for a wider understanding of the Dada movement. CHOICE Thanks to this excellent groundbreaking study ... a bigger and rewritten picture of pre-Second World War avant gardes will now be possible. FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

Also in Series