The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, Peter Weiss, English version Geoffrey Skelton, verse adaptation Adrian Mitchell, introduction Peter Brook (Atheneum, New York, 1965, stated first american edition)
5.5″x8.5″, x+117pp, hardbound, red boards, silver titles on spine, blind stamped title on cover, top-edge inked, near mint condition
This is a 1963 play by Peter Weiss originally published in German under the title Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats, dargestellt durch die Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade, usually shortened to Marat/Sade. This is the first American version, published in 1965.
A “play within a play”, Merats/Sade incorporates dramatic elements characteristic of both Artaud and Brecht. It is a depiction of class struggle and human suffering that asks whether true revolution comes from changing society or changing oneself.
Peter Ulrich Weiss (1916-1982) was a German writer, painter, graphic artist, and experimental filmmaker of adopted Swedish nationality. He earned his reputation in the post-war German literary world as the proponent of an avant-garde, meticulously descriptive writing, as an exponent of autobiographical prose, and also as a politically engaged dramatist. He gained international success with Marat/Sade, the American production of which was awarded a Tony Award and its subsequent film adaptation directed by Peter Brook. His “Auschwitz Oratorium,” The Investigation, served to broaden the debates over the so-called “Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit” (or formerly) “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” or “politics of history.” Weiss’ magnum opus was The Aesthetics of Resistance, called the “most important German-language work of the 70s and 80s.