A Stage for Debate: The Political Significance of Vienna’s Burgtheater, 1814–1867
Available: August 2023© 2023
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Series: German and European Studies
Page Count: 240 Pages
Illustrations: 4 b&w illustrations
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
240 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in, 4 b&w illustrations
Not Yet Published
A Stage for Debate presents a detailed analysis of the repertoire of the leading German-language stage of the nineteenth century, Vienna’s Burgtheater. The book explores the extent to which the Burgtheater repertoire contributed to important political and cultural debates on individual liberty, the role of women in society, and the understanding of national and regional identity.
The relevance of the Burgtheater as a forum for political debate is assessed not by the degree to which the performed plays transgressed established norms, but by the range of positions that were voiced on a given topic. Martin Wagner investigates the roughly 1,000 plays from across Europe that were introduced to the Burgtheater’s repertoire between 1814 and 1867 by combining a general overview with detailed interpretations of especially successful plays. Wagner reveals that the Burgtheater was significantly more involved in contemporary debates than the stereotype of this stage as an artistically refined but apolitical institution suggests. Drawing from theatre studies and German and Austrian studies more broadly, A Stage for Debate revises the history of one of Europe’s leading theatres.
Introduction: Reassessing the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Burgtheater
1. What Makes a Theatre Politically Significant?
2. Making the Burgtheater Repertoire
3. The Scope of the Burgtheater Repertoire
4. Mourning and Reforming Obedience
5. Performing the Women’s Movement
6. The Drama of National and Regional Belonging
Conclusion: The Mid-Nineteenth-Century Burgtheater as a Case Study