Academic Commons

Articles

Theater of Revolution and the Law of Genre – Bertolt Brecht’s The Measures Taken (Die Maßnahme)

Simons, Oliver

It has been emphasized frequently that Bertolt Brecht's political theater, Die Maßnahme in particular, has been influenced by Carl Schmitt's theory of the sovereign and the state of exception. Although it is indeed remarkable that his learning play seems to record some of the concepts that, in Schmitt, belong to the categories of political theory, this article will return to the role and discourse of the theater in Brecht. The drama of revolution is a political text through and through, but it cannot separate the political from the theater; the drama of revolution is in search of a form, a metatheater, in which the overcoming of an order is first and foremost the attempt to suspend the law of genre. Strikingly, Brecht's learning play brings to the stage all the characteristics that have, since Aristotle, marked tragedy: the pity, the error of a hero, the hero's comprehension of the error, the guilt of an innocent man, the hero's death, the sacrifice, and catharsis. Brecht reproduces the law of the genre he wishes to supersede and entangles his figures in inescapable aporias that have dominated the metadiscourse on drama in revolutionary theater from Büchner's Danton's Tod to Heiner Müller's Mauser.

Files

  • thumnail for 2009_Theater_of_Revolution_and_the_Law_of_Genre___Bertolt_Brecht_s_Die_Ma_nahme-Germanic_Review.doc 2009_Theater_of_Revolution_and_the_Law_of_Genre___Bertolt_Brecht_s_Die_Ma_nahme-Germanic_Review.doc application/msword 123 KB Download File

Also Published In

Title
The Germanic Review
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/00168890903291468

More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Publisher
Taylor and Francis
Published Here
May 4, 2015
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.