Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 646. Saturday, 9 October 1993.
Date: Saturday, 9 Oct 1993 19:43:56 +0100
Subject: Shakespeare and Politics
Comment: SHK 4.0637 Shakespeare and Politics
Re: Coriolanus in Germany
(1) We should remember that plays are always used for a purpose in a
production--even if the purpose is the glorification of a "timeless" classic.
(2) The American authorities were well aware of the political implications of
*Coriolanus*, as immediately becomes clear once we move beyond one or two
marginal sources in English. I have not had a chance to look into this, but
just opening E.L. Stahl's *Shakespeare und das deutsche Theater* (Stuttgart
1947) on p. 732, I found the following paragraph, which I have translated into
English: "In the American zone, in which immediately theatre officers were
appointed by the occupation authorities, a kind of index was published in the
late summer of 1945, as a "suggested reference guide", in which *Hamlet*,
*Macbeth*, *Richard III*, *King Lear*, and, under the motto of "the pursuit of
happiness", all the comedies are specially mentioned. On the appended "Black
List" certain classical works, normally "musts of a good repertory", are
designated as unsuitable for a German audience at the present moment, among
them *Julius Caesar* and *Coriolanus*, because of its "glorification of
dictatorship"." This neatly supports Terry Hawkes's point, doesn't it?
University of Basel, Switzerland