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Fascism and Theatre

Fascism and Theatre

Günter Berghaus


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Since the 1920s, an endless flow of studies has analyzed the political systems of fascism, theseizure of power, the nature of the regimes, the atrocities committed, and, finally, the wars waged against other countries. However, much less attention has been paid to the strategies of persuasion employed by the regimes to win over the masses for their cause. Among these, fascist propaganda has traditionally been seen as the key means of influencing public opinion. Only recently has the "fascination with Fascism" become a topic of enquiry that has also formed the guiding interest of this volume: it offers, for the first time, a comparative analysis of the forms and functions of theater in countries governed by fascist or para-fascist regimes. By examining a wide spectrum of theatrical manifestations in a number of States with a varying degree of fascistization, these studies establish some of the similarities and differences between the theatrical cultures of several cultures in the interwar period.

"... [an] important and well-compiled collection ... Berghaus' superb introductory piece reminds us how severely distorted the lens through which we regard these troubling two decades has become ... [he] seeks ... to enlist the relatively new discipline of 'theatre anthropology' [and] the results are most impressive."  · German Studies Review

"... an important addition to the literature ... a fascinating, authoritative and highly informative collection of essays which will prove invaluable both to the specialist and the student reader."  · Theatre Research International

"... represents a fresh perspective on fascist theatre history ... a valuable source book on the politics ... achieves a searching comparative perspective on the phenomenon of Fascist aesthetics and theatrics ... and will be useful both to all students of Fascism and ... students of the performing arts."  · The International History Review

Günter Berghaus received his Ph.D. in Theatre Studies and his Habilitation from the Free University of Berlin, he taught at the University of London and now holds a Readership in Theatre History and Performance Studies at the University of Bristol.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Title Page iii
Copyright Page iv
Table of Contents v
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Staging the Nation's Rebirth 11
Chapter 2. The Cultural Politics of Fascist Governments 30
Chapter 3. The Ritual Core of Fascist Theatre 39
Chapter 4. The Theatre of Politics in Fascist Italy 72
Chapter 5. The Organisation, Fascistisation and Management of Theatre in Italy, 1925 - 1943 94
Chapter 6. Theatre Politics of the Mussolini Regime and Their Influence on Fascist Drama 113
Chapter 7. Mussolini's 'Theatre of the Masses' 133
Chapter 8. Censorship in Nazi Germany 140
Chapter 9. The Municipal Theatre in Frankfurt-on-the-Main 157
Chapter 10. The Orchestration of the National Community 172
Chapter 11. The Theatre Aesthetics of the Falange 191
Chapter 12. Theatre and Falangism at the Beginning of the Franco Regime 210
Chapter 13. Competing Together in Fascist Europe 229
Chapter 14. Jacques Copeau and 'Popular Theatre' in Vichy France 247
Chapter 15. Towards an Aesthetic of Fascist Opera 260
Bibliography 277
Illustrations 299
Notes on Contributors 304
Index 307