Fighting Fascism through Theater: Defining a Socialist Humanist Aesthetic in Willi Bredel's Die Enkel (1953)

Fighting Fascism through Theater: Defining a Socialist Humanist Aesthetic in Willi Bredel's... <p>Abstract:</p><p>This article examines the important role of the theater in early East German cultural politics as illustrated in Willi Bredel&apos;s <i>Die Enkel</i> (1953), the third novel in his socialist realist trilogy, <i>Verwandte und Bekannte</i> (1941–1953). By focusing on the novel&apos;s use of the &apos;play within a story&apos; device to depict two stage performances, Verdi&apos;s opera <i>Il trovatore</i> and Lessing&apos;s drama <i>Nathan der Weise</i>, I show how Bredel implicitly defines a fascist aesthetics and a socialist aesthetics, similar to Walter Benjamin&apos;s distinction between fascist and socialist art in his essay "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" (1935). Taken together, these scenes serve as didactic moments for Bredel&apos;s ideal readers and call for art that is closely aligned with the political and cultural goals of socialist humanism. (HY)</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Monatshefte University of Wisconsin Press

Fighting Fascism through Theater: Defining a Socialist Humanist Aesthetic in Willi Bredel&apos;s Die Enkel (1953)

Monatshefte, Volume 112 (1) – Mar 12, 2020

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Board of Regents of The University of Wisconsin System.
ISSN
1934-2810

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This article examines the important role of the theater in early East German cultural politics as illustrated in Willi Bredel&apos;s <i>Die Enkel</i> (1953), the third novel in his socialist realist trilogy, <i>Verwandte und Bekannte</i> (1941–1953). By focusing on the novel&apos;s use of the &apos;play within a story&apos; device to depict two stage performances, Verdi&apos;s opera <i>Il trovatore</i> and Lessing&apos;s drama <i>Nathan der Weise</i>, I show how Bredel implicitly defines a fascist aesthetics and a socialist aesthetics, similar to Walter Benjamin&apos;s distinction between fascist and socialist art in his essay "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" (1935). Taken together, these scenes serve as didactic moments for Bredel&apos;s ideal readers and call for art that is closely aligned with the political and cultural goals of socialist humanism. (HY)</p>

Journal

MonatshefteUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Mar 12, 2020

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