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No HamletsGerman Shakespeare from Nietzsche to Carl Schmitt$
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Andreas Höfele

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718543.001.0001

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Third Reich Shakespeare

Third Reich Shakespeare

6 Third Reich Shakespeare
No Hamlets

Andreas Höfele

Oxford University Press

With Hitler’s takeover, which was greeted by many, though not all, rightist intellectuals, a triumphant Germany once again shed its Hamletian affiliations. Chapter 6 discusses how Shakespeare was seamlessly incorporated into the cultural assets of the new regime. He had, after all, been seen as the exemplary Germanic, or Nordic, dramatist since the days of Herder. The importance attached to Shakespeare by the regime is reflected in the controversy over Hans Rothe’s unorthodox translations which were eventually ruled out by Goebbels himself. But there was also opposition to the seemingly ‘natural’ alliance between the Bard and the ‘New Germany’. According to Shakespeare’s detractors, he represented the era of tragic individualism. But that era was over, and therefore Shakespeare no longer had anything relevant to say. The dispute, in which the composer Hans Pfitzner came out on the side of the Bard, remained inconclusive to the last.

Keywords:   Nazi theatre, Shakespeare translation, Nordic ideology, Hans Rothe, Joseph Goebbels, Curt Langenbeck, Hans Pfitzner

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