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Holderlin: A Play in Two Acts (SB-The German List) Hardcover – December 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: SB-The German List
  • Hardcover: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Seagull Books (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906497729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906497729
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most significant works of postwar German literature.... Exhilaratingly strange, compelling, and original. Readers who dare to enter this demanding verbal landscape will not come away empty-handed." - Bookforum, on Weiss's The Aesthetics of Resistance"

About the Author

Peter Weiss (1916–82) was a German playwright, novelist, filmmaker, and painter. His works include the play Marat/Sade and The New Trial and the novels The Shadow of the Body of the Coachman and The Conversation of the Three Walkers. Jon Swan is the author of two collections of poems and a collection of one-act plays. Carl Weber is Professor Emeritus of Directing and Dramaturgy at Stanford University.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Best-known for his plays, "Marat/Sade" and "The Investigation", the playwright and novelist Peter Weiss (1916 -- 1982), wrote a two-act play in 1971-1972 based upon the life of the German romantic poet Friedrich Holderlin (1770 -- 1843). The play was produced in both East and West Germany and in Switzerland and sparked a great deal of controversy regarding the accuracy of Weiss' understanding of Holderlin. Holderlin was a poet and playright who went insane in the last half of his life. He spent 35 years living in the home of a carpenter and admirer of his poetry in a small tower with a view of the Nekar River. Holderlin's life is the stuff of tragedy and romance.

When I learned of the play, I wanted to read it due to my interest in German idealistic philosophy and in Martin Heidegger, one of many readers who have been deeply influenced by the poet. The play has been translated from the German by Jon Swan in collaboration with Carl Weber and published in 2010. As far as I am aware, this is the first English translation of Weiss' play. The volume includes as well a good introductory essay to the play by Robert Cohen, adjunct Professor of German at New York University and the author of several studies of Weiss, and Weiss' own Afterword to the play in which he offers comments on each of the characters and how they are to be performed.

I am not sure how "Holderlin" would fare on the stage, but the play is thoughtful, disturbing and provocative to read. The translation is into intense English poetry, sometimes rhymed, which itself captures something of Holderlin's restless spirit. The incidents on the play are factually based on Holderlin's life.
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