Two Plays of Weimar Germany

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Publication Date
September 2018
Page Count
184 pages
Trim Size
5 x 8

Two Plays of Weimar Germany

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

Ferdinand Bruckner (born Theodor Tagger on 26 August 1891 in Sofia, Bulgaria) was an Austro-German writer and theatre manager. His father was an Austrian businessman and his mother a French translator. After the separation of his parents, he spent time in Vienna and Paris, and in Berlin where he began to study music. However, impressed by the Expressionist literary scene in Berlin, in 1916 he moved away from music and devoted himself to poetry. In the following years, he published several poetry collections and in 1917 he began the literary magazine Marsyas with texts from authors like Alfred Döblin and Hermanne Hesse. In 1922, he founded, in his real name, the Berlin Renaissance Theater, whose leadership he gave to Gustav Hartung in 1928. In 1929 and 1930 he released the pieces Krankheit der Jugend (Pains of Youth) and Elisabeth von England (Elizabeth of England) using the pseudonym Ferdinand Bruckner. After the success of these works, he revealed their authorship, although he changed his name permanently to Bruckner in 1946. In 1933 he emigrated to Paris and worked on the anti-fascist play Die Rassen. In 1936, he moved to the USA, although he achieved little success there. Twenty years after his flight from Germany in 1953 he returned to Berlin where he worked as an advisor to the Schiller Theater. He died in Berlin on 5 December 1958.

Laurence Senelick is Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, visual studies, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre.


"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 theatre 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 theatre. 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 Theater