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Peter Weiss

Weiss, Peter (pāˈtər vĪs) [key], 1916–82, German-Swedish dramatist, novelist, film director, and painter. Weiss's early novels Abschied von den Eltern (1961; tr. Leavetaking, 1962) and Fluchtpunkt (1962; tr. Vanishing Point, 1967) draw upon his emigration experience. His philosophic drama on the nature of revolution, 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 (1964; tr. 1965), effectively conveys the atmosphere of an insane asylum as a social microcosm. Both this and his play Die Ermittlung (1965; tr. The Investigation, 1966) were international successes. The Investigation uses texts from the 1964 Frankfurt war crimes trial to demonstrate that the capitalist system, responsible for Auschwitz, exists in postwar society. Later works include the documentary drama Trotzki im Exil (1970; tr. Trotsky in Exile, 1971) and The Song of the Lusitanian Bogey (tr. 1970).

See studies by I. Hilton (1970), K. Vance (1981), and R. Ellis (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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