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Title: Censorship and society in Munich, 1890-1914 : with special reference to 'Simplicissimus' and the plays of Frank Wedekind
Author: Lenman, Robin
ISNI:       0000 0001 0896 091X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1975
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The present study began as an attempt to discover what mechanisms existed in Wilhelmine Germany to prevent the expression of radical views about politics and society by artists, writers and journalists. As the work progressed, it became clear that, because of the federal structure of the Reich, conditions varied considerably in different parts of the country} and that it would be both more practicable and more interesting to limit the investigation to a single city, Munich, which had a very active avant-garde, and where the strength of political clericalism made the debate about freedom of expression particularly fierce. Contemporary discussion centred mainly on two distinct, though related, topics: freedom of the press and freedom of the stage; and the sources available made it seem desirable, in addition to outlining the general legal background, to construct two detailed case-studies in order to investigate them. The choice of the satirical paper Simplicissimus on the one hand, and Frank Wedekind's plays on the other, soon proved to have been very appropriate. The history of Simplicissimus is interesting for three main reasons. In the first place, it sheds light on nearly all the major legal and practical issues connected with the liberty of the press in this period. Secondly, although Simplicissimus won a European reputation for its skilful satirical treatment of German and international affairs, the men who produced it were closely Identified with a particular community; and they commented acutely on events in Bavaria which had considerable bearing on Munich intellectuals' freedom to express themselves. Finally, a wealth of private and official documents makes it possible to study the relationship between an original and sometimes highly provocative paper and the state in exceptional detail. The case of Frank Wedekind forms an ideal counterpart to that of Simplicissimus. The authorities had much more power to control the theatre - which was regarded by many people ae an important channel of communication. than to control the press, and Wedekind's frequent and very well documented conflicts with the Munich censor reveal the weakness of a playwright's position compared with that of a journalist. Furthermore, Wedekind was for a time one of Simplicissimus' most 'subversive' collaborators; he was one of the acknowledged leaders of the Munich avant-garde. which was subjected to bitter attacks by Bavarian conservatives; and the nature of his plays meant that he became involved in the debate about pornography and low-grade literature which went on throughout the period. [Continued in text ...]
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Criticism and interpretation ; Censorship ; History ; Germany