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Man and the masses (Masse mensch) a play of the social revolution in seven scenes,

Author: Ernst Toller; Louis Untermeyer
Publisher: Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Co., [©1924]
Series: Theatre Guild library.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Set during wartime, [this play] shows a workers{u2019} committee deciding to strike to enforce peace and secure a fair society. Sonja Irene, wife of a disapproving bourgeois, has joined the committee and finds her strike call disputed by an anonymous opponent who insists that the utopia of lasting peace and social justice can only come through violent revolution. She is unable to prevent violence and the subsequent  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Drama
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Toller, Ernst, 1893-1939.
Man and the masses (Masse mensch).
Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Co., [©1924]
(OCoLC)555745990
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ernst Toller; Louis Untermeyer
OCLC Number: 1409512
Description: xxix pages, 2 3/4., 109 pages frontispiece, plates 20 cm.
Series Title: Theatre Guild library.
Responsibility: by Ernst toller, translated by Louis Untermeyer. The Theatre guild version, with six illustrations from photographs of the Theatre guild production.

Abstract:

Set during wartime, [this play] shows a workers{u2019} committee deciding to strike to enforce peace and secure a fair society. Sonja Irene, wife of a disapproving bourgeois, has joined the committee and finds her strike call disputed by an anonymous opponent who insists that the utopia of lasting peace and social justice can only come through violent revolution. She is unable to prevent violence and the subsequent shooting of an enemy soldier. She is captured in the ensuing battle, refuses help from her husband and from her anonymous former opponent because she would have to kill a warden to escape, and is executed. This reveals, in Richard Dove{u2019}s words, "the strong vein of determinism increasingly evident in Toller{u2019}s work." The play is written as a vision containing "real" and "dream" scenes in which the banality of real-life situations is contrasted with the utopia of a new society to come. The problems of the political resolve needed for mass action are examined dialectically through the central character, who is portrayed both as a real-life person and as an abstract figure. All the central oppositions remain unresolved, with the reality of revolution in conflict with noble ideals expressed in abstract argument. Moral principle is set against revolutionary expediency, and expressed in a clash between ethical socialism and applied Marxism. The individual here has to show the way, the mass can only achieve ethical freedom through an act of limited violence. Despite many Expressionist features, the involvement with political argument lifts the play beyond propaganda and ideology. The central figure becomes a "new woman" and combines a hard-headed understanding of her companions with a vision for the future. --what-when-how.com.

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