The book addresses the cultural and political issues of marginalized identity of assimilated German Jews in turn-of-the-century Vienna from the theatrical angle, focusing on how identity crisis informs or resists theatrical representation. Against the historical setting of Vienna from the rise of political anti-Semitism in the 1880s to the immediate post-WWI, it examines the works of four assimilated Austrian artists of Jewish descent: Hugo von Hofmannsthal's operatic collaboration with Richard Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten, Artur Schnitzler plays, Franz Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten, and Alexander Zemlinsky's opera Der Zwerg.It explores the transformations of the assimilated Jewish artists from politics into psyche and the dynamic of their assimilation and alienation, tackling the pressing question of both the validity and limitation of representing unacknowledged psychic trauma in theatrical terms. Walter Benjamin's allegorist approach is adopted to illuminate the existential anguish of the assimilated Jews who suffered the abrupt rupture of the German identity by the onslaught of anti-Semitism.
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Pao-Hsiang Wang teaches drama in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University. He received his Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from UC,Santa Barbara. His research interests are fin-de-siècle drama, Jewish studies, and history of opera. He has published papers on dramas, musicals, and operas.
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