Max Reinhardt’s Großes Schauspielhaus - Its Artistic Goals, Planning, and Operation, 1910-1933

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The years between 1910 and 1933 represent a period of tumultuous change in Germany. Focusing on Max Reinhardt’s Großes Schauspielhaus in Berlin during the Weimar Republic offers a unique opportunity to examine the many factors that affect theatrical production outside of the realm of the aesthetic. Using neo-Marxist methodology of Raymond Williams as well as Pierre Bourdieu’s The Field of Cultural Production, this study investigates the impact of social, political, and economic factors on planning and building the Großes Schauspielhaus and on its theatrical productions. Previous works focus on Reinhardt’s use of actors, collaboration with designers, technology, etc, but this study begins by asking ‘What were the relations between Max Reinhardt’s artistic direction and the business management?’ It provides an analysis of the economic conditions of the period, the costs involved in building and maintaining a mass theater, and questions of ‘symbolic capital’ versus ‘economic capital’. An appendix provides a complete English-language translation of Max Reinhardt’s 1905 manifesto, originally published in Arthur Kahne’s Tagebuch des Dramaturgen. With illustrations.


“Anthony Hostetter’s new monograph is a long overdue and welcome addition to Reinhardt scholarship. Not content to revisit old terrain, Hostetter has selected an overlooked topic within Reinhardt scholarship: the organization, administration, and productions of the Großes Schauspielhaus in Berlin between 1910 and 1933…. an investigation that explores the nexus of economic contexts and aesthetic creation…. The real strength of the monograph is the wealth of archival information, cited in the text with photographic selections in the appendix, and collected from various archives…. This archival information, combined with adroit use of Weimar-era newspaper and journal articles as well as unpublished dissertations, produces a stunning account of Max Reinhardt and his theatrical enterprise…. his use of a materialist-historicist perspective might be his most clever and lasting achievement…. Seen in this light, Hostetter has provided the key to unlock Reinhardt and his theater from its marginalized status within critical scholarship.” – Norman Roessler, Temple University

“Hostetter’s text answers questions about the importance of Max Reinhardt and his Theater of Five Thousand within the larger context of German society and the chronology of modern Theater history…. What we do know, thanks to Hostetter’s work, is that the social, political and economic relations in and around Reinhardt’s artistic production as a cultural agent in Germany, impacted on both the ideals of his Theater of Five Thousand and the physical realities of how those ideals were played out.” – Dr. Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Temple University

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Preface by Dr. Yvonne Shafer
1. Cultural Capital and Symbolic Capital: From the “Theater of the Future” to Reinhardt’s “Theater of the Five Thousand”
2. The Planning and Administration of the Großes Schauspielhaus
3. Theater Management during Revolution, Chaos, and Inflation
4. construction of the German National Theater
5. Superstructure and Base: The Relationship between Großes Schauspielhaus Productions and their Determining Factors
6. Conclusions and Continuing Evidence of the “Theater of the Five Thousand”
Appendix One: Chronology
Appendix 2: Max Reinhardt’s 1905 Theater Manifesto, from Arthur Kahne’s Tagebuch des Dramaturgen. (English-language translation)
Bibliography; Index

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