Edited by Dieter Mersch, Sandro Zanetti, and Sylvia Sasse Diaphanes, 2019 Library of Congress BH39.A78413 2019
Theodor Adorno’s famous aesthetic theory was not merely a theory of the aesthetic; it also made a wider claim about the aesthetic implications of all theory. At the same time we have to deal with aesthetic objects and events in which an aesthetic theory is inherent, which show themselves as art. From both sides—theory and aesthetics—a link can be made to the etymological meaning of theōria, which understands the theoretical as a seeing or perspective. Featuring lucid essays by major thinkers, the book examines this link, focusing equally on the aesthetic implications of theory and the theoretical implications of aesthetic events.
In 1920, on the third anniversary of the October Revolution, dramatist Nikolai Evreinov directed a cast of 10,000 actors, dancers, and circus performers—as well as a convoy of armored cars and tanks—in The Storming of the Winter Palace. The mass spectacle, presented in and around the real Winter Palace in Petrograd, was intended to recall the storming as the beginning of the October Revolution. But it was a deceptive reenactment because, in producing the events it sought to reenact, it created a new kind of theater, agit-drama, promulgating political propaganda and deliberately breaking down the distinction between performers and spectators.
Nikolaj Evreinov: “The Storming of the Winter Palace” tells the fascinating story of this production. Taking readers through the relevant history, the authors describe the role of The Storming of the Winter Palace in commemorating Soviet power. With a wealth of illustrations, they also show how photographs of Evreinov’s theatrical storming eventually became historical documents of the October Revolution themselves.
The first-ever English translation of this dramatic work by Nikolai Evreinov.
In the 1910s the Russian theater director and theorist Nikolai Evreinov (1879–1953) insisted on the theatricalization of life. Twenty years later, Evreinov, who had left Russia in 1924, was in exile in Paris when Stalin staged three elaborate political show trials in Moscow. Evreinov then meticulously read the transcripts of the trials in the Russian-language press, collected material on Nikolai Bukharin and the other defendants, consulted with experts, and finally wrote a play, his response to the staging of a judicial farce. With this response, he also wanted to rehabilitate his idea of the theatricalization of life. After all, the theatricalization of life does not mean performing false confessions, constructing conspiracies, fabricating facts, or casting hired witnesses. In his theatrical theory, Evreinov was careful not to make the theater of life invisible. His play is therefore not a historical reconstruction, but an imaginary look behind the scenes, in which the Stalinist perpetrators confess to the real crime in the end: the theater. Expertly translated into English for the first time by Zachary King, The Steps of Nemesis brings a fascinating play to a whole new world.