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The Theater of Heiner Muller: Revised and Enlarged Edition

by Jonathan Kalb

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This is the first comprehensive study in English of Heiner Müller, arguably the most important figure in the German theatre after Brecht. Its prime aim is to introduce Müller to an Anglophone public largely unfamiliar with his work. Brecht's most significant spiritual heir, Müller wrote almost all his texts in direct response to other literary works and posed even more challenges to received notions of originality than Brecht. His typical practice, this study argues, was to set up 'source' authors as broad paradigms and then imitate them, in order to explode or embarrass their assumptions about history and the relationship of art to history. History being a perennial bloodbath, all previous creators were guilty shadows with whom the living had a grave obligation to grapple. This book attempts not to unmask Müller but rather to illuminate his work and thought by way of his carefully chosen alter egos.… (more)
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This is the first comprehensive study in English of Heiner Müller, arguably the most important figure in the German theatre after Brecht. Its prime aim is to introduce Müller to an Anglophone public largely unfamiliar with his work. Brecht's most significant spiritual heir, Müller wrote almost all his texts in direct response to other literary works and posed even more challenges to received notions of originality than Brecht. His typical practice, this study argues, was to set up 'source' authors as broad paradigms and then imitate them, in order to explode or embarrass their assumptions about history and the relationship of art to history. History being a perennial bloodbath, all previous creators were guilty shadows with whom the living had a grave obligation to grapple. This book attempts not to unmask Müller but rather to illuminate his work and thought by way of his carefully chosen alter egos.

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