King's College London

Research portal

Staging Failure? Berta Lask's 'Thomas Münzer' (1925) and the 400th Anniversary of the German Peasants' War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-382
Number of pages18
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Volume73
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jul 2020
DOIs
Accepted/In press21 Jul 2020
E-pub ahead of print21 Jul 2020
Published21 Jul 2020

Documents

King's Authors

Abstract

This article examines Berta Lask's drama Thomas Münzer (1925), which was commissioned by the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD) and staged in Eisleben to mark the 400th anniversary of the German Peasants’ War (1524–5) and the execution of Thomas Müntzer. Drawing on cultural memory theory and reading the play as a multi-layered lieu de mémoire, it argues that Lask attempts to recuperate the revolutionary potential of the failed Peasants’ War and harness it to the agenda of the KPD of the 1920s. The article begins by situating Lask's play in a tradition of leftist writing about the Peasants’ War dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. It then considers the ways in which Lask uses historical analogy to create connections between the sixteenth-century uprising and events in post-World War I German political history. Finally, the article explores the techniques used by Lask to create a sense of revolutionary community among her actors and audience.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454