by Oscar Büdel
Giue me That Man, Who when the Plague of an Impostumd Braynes (Breaking out) infects a Theater, and hotly raignes,
Killing the Hearers Hearts.
( Th. Dekker)
Il teatro, voi vedete, signori, è la bocca spalancata d'un grande macchinario che ha fame.
( L. Pirandello)
Car le théâtre ne doit pas être un art en trompe-l'œil.
( G. Apollinaire)
In confuting Schlegel's ideas on the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy, Nietzsche said that he believed in an aesthetic audience and thought the single spectator to be the more capable, the more he was able to take the work of art as art, namely aesthetically.1 Some forty years thereafter modern drama felt called upon to awaken the spectator from his "illusionist period" -- as if there had been any danger that, again in Nietzsche's words, the ideal spectator might rush onto the stage to free the God from his torment. Yet to prevent this once and for all seems to
"Contemporary Theater and Aesthetic Distance". From PMLA, LXXVI ( 1960), 277- 291. Reprinted by permission of the Modern Language Association of America.
My essay was written in the summer of 1958 before the appearance of P. A. Michelis , "Aesthetic Distance and the Charm of Contemporary Art", Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XVIII ( 1959), of which it therefore does not take account. Discussion of affinitive questions will have to be reserved for a further study.
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Publication information: Book title: Brecht:A Collection of Critical Essays. Contributors: Peter Demetz - Editor. Publisher: Prentice-Hall. Place of publication: Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 59.
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