Two Plays of Weimar Germany

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3773-8

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3772-1
Publication Date
September 2018
Page Count
296 pages
Trim Size
5 x 8
ISBN
0-8101-3772-0

Two Plays of Weimar Germany

Youth Is a Sickness and Criminals
Ferdinand Bruckner, translated from the German by Laurence Senelick

Two Plays of Weimar Germany offers new translations, by the renowned theater scholar and translator Laurence Senelick, of popular works by the playwright Ferdinand Bruckner: Youth Is a Sickness (Krankheit der Jugend) and Criminals (Die Verbrecher). 

Though his fame was later eclipsed by peers such as Bertolt Brecht, Bruckner was the celebrity dramatist of his time, and a new generation of readers is discovering his groundbreaking plays known for their strong cultural critique and unflinching portrayals of social ills, outcasts, and misfits. Youth Is a Sickness (1924) explores the lives of Germany's "lost generation," those who grew up during and after the cataclysm of the First World War, devoid of hope and ideals, lost in a haze of sex and drugs. Criminals (1926) traces several court cases about a failed double suicide, theft, abortion, and homosexual blackmail, controversial topics for the audience of its time and even today. Its innovative staging and interwoven storylines illuminate the imposed social tensions and legal injustice faced by the characters.

In this expert translation, readers can see Bruckner as a public intellectual, a man committed to commenting on the fate of Germany; humane values; and the past, present, and future in his work. With an introduction by the translator, this volume will be the definitive version for readers, actors, playwrights, and scholars.
About the Author

FERDINAND BRUCKNER, born Theodor Tagger in 1891, was an Austro-German poet, playwright, and theater manager. In 1922, he founded the Berlin Renaissance Theater. He immigrated to Paris in 1933, from there to the United States in 1936, and eventually returned to Berlin, where he worked as an adviser to the Schiller Theater. 

LAURENCE SENELICK is Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University. He is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being The Soviet Theater: A Documentary History (with Sergei Ostrovsky); Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; The American Stage: Writing on the American Theater from Washington Irving to Tony Kushner; and Jacques Offenbach and the Making of Modern Culture.
Reviews

"Ferdinand Bruckner's plays deserve to be better known. Passionate, intense, and vividly theatrical, they harness a bold dramaturgy to the deep conviction that the theater must engage with the world around it. The two plays in this volume are exemplars of Bruckner's method, and in Laurence Senelick's bracing translations they breathe with new life, bringing us Bruckner's unsparing but humane voice in clear, playable, American English. Senelick is a scholar, linguist, and all-around man of the theater. His capacious thought and sharp wit are wonderful complements to Bruckner's compassionate spirit. I look forward to seeing these thrilling new translations in production." —Barry Edelstein, Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director at The Old Globe Theatre

"There isn't another academic theater historian in the world who combines the talent of translator, critic, dramaturg, theater historian, regisseur, actor, and scholar required to annotate these two plays of Ferdinand Bruckner. The introduction sits comfortably next to Stefan Zweig's Die Welt von Gestern as a tribute to several worlds now only a memory. Laurence Senelick is the embodiment of Der Theaterprofessor, and as such stands alone." —Sol Gittleman, Alice and Nathan Gantcher University Professor Emeritus, Tufts University

"This book is a gift to theater lovers and anyone interested in modern German culture. As Laurence Senelick's masterful edition makes clear, Ferdinand Bruckner's plays—with their frank sexuality, world-weary banter, and political alarms—illuminated a world on the verge of catastrophe. They also speak with disturbing eloquence about our own." —Matthew Wilson Smith, author of The Nervous Stage: Nineteenth-Century Neuroscience and the Birth of Modern Theatre