Manfred Brauneck
Germany
2010 Balzan Prize for The History of Theatre in All Its Aspects
For his wide-ranging account of two and a half millennia in the history of European theatre, as well as his research on currents and events of an international nature in the world of theatre.
Manfred Brauneck (born in 1934) has taught Modern German Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Hamburg. He began teaching there in 1973.
For many years, he directed the Centre for Theatre Research and a course of studies on theatre directing and the dramatic arts.
Whoever undertakes research in a library on the literature of the History of Theatre will be especially impressed by the six volume work Die Welt als Bühne (The World as a Stage). In this work, Manfred Brauneck describes over 2,500 years of European theatre culture and relates it to the contexts of the social and intellectual structures of various periods and regions. He also explains the many different national developments that are reflected on the stage. This encyclopaedic work documents the multifaceted nature and richness of a continuous artistic-innovative development, drawing on manifold verifiable sources.
Manfred Brauneck’s special interest is on the theatre of the twentieth century, on the many styles and approaches that at the beginning of that period broke with tradition in various places, giving rise to experiments on the stage which propagated themselves whilst, stimulating and very often shocking the audience. In this historical milieu, Manfred Brauneck enriches the state of specialised knowledge with anthologies of texts that show, with various comments, the positions taken by directors, playwrights and stage designers. This profound lexicographical work offers the latest generation of researchers, a proven factual foundation to build upon in their own work.
In both volumes of his Dictionary of the Theatre, beyond presenting a general vision of European theatre, he also deals with the forms of theatre found in non-European cultures, thus expanding the concept of “theatre” beyond the traditional boundaries of a pure art form located soley on the stage.
In these volumes, Manfred Brauneck’s wide-ranging knowledge enables him to allow us to engage with various historical developments, people, styles and concepts that are closely connected with the theatre. He thus places a grandiose corpus of work at the reader’s disposal, without making judgements or evaluations. In this way, this work exposes both traditionalist-conservative and alternative-progressive intellectuals to elements which may cause them to reconsider their positions.
The detailed account of the history of the theatre which Manfred Brauneck has presented, giving us and future generations access to this particularly important cultural phenomenon has led the International Balzan Foundation to award him the Balzan Prize for the History of Theatre in all its aspects.
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