Encircling Humanity

Scott Spector

in Prague Territories

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219090
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929777 | DOI:
Encircling Humanity

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This chapter talks about the retrospective attempts to situate Prague German expressionism within the larger cultural context that have been plagued by persistent literary-historical myths. The Prague expressionists did not take up the liberal appeal for civility in the period that manifested national and ideological conflict. The desire to “break open” the discrete circles of a modern, fragmentary existence contained within an explosive revolutionary element. The expressionist battle in the Prague context represented two kinds of civil war, then: the first, the attack on the figure of petty liberal complacency symbolized by the father; and the second, a war within the self, the struggle to release the dormant spirit from within the comfortable but constrictive confines of the body. The antinaturalist performance of the expressionist actor represents the outward expression of inner truth that exactly parallels the act on the surface of “reality” via the spiritual revolution of humanity.

Keywords: Prague German expressionism; literary-historical myths; Prague expressionists; civil war; antinaturalist performance; expressionist actor; reality

Chapter.  17717 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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