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TALK: Walter Scott and German Drama; or: There's More to Life Than Goethe

Talk by Dr Michael Wood
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh
17 November 2018, 11.45 am, Club Room

In the 1790s, the young Walter Scott developed a keen interest in German language and literature, taking to learning the former with his friends before putting his hand to translating gothic ballads by Goethe and Bürger. His passion for German literature seemingly peaked in 1796-99, during which time he read a number of German plays, translated six of them, and published the first full-length literary work to bear his name on its title page: a translation of Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen. This talk will discuss what drew Scott to German drama in the first place and dwell a little longer on which plays he ended up dedicating his time to studying in detail and translating. It will also look to the ways in which this initial encounter with German drama fuelled an interest in German plays that not only continued throughout Scott's life, but left its trace in Scott's works, from his first attempts at writing his own plays, to his novels.

About Dr Michael Wood

After completing both a BA in Philosophy and German and an MPhil in German at Wadham College, University of Oxford, Michael returned to Scotland in 2011 to undertake a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. His doctoral thesis explored the notion of 'democratic theatre' in a selection of works by the East German playwright, Heiner Müller (1929-1995), and his first monograph, focusing on this topic, appeared with Camden House in June 2017 as Heiner Müller's Democratic Theater: The Politics of Making the Audience Work.  After his PhD, Michael was the Susan Manning Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh, where he began his research into Walter Scott's reception of German drama, which he is continuing as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. To date, he has published articles and chapters on Heiner Müller, postdramatic theatre, and contemporary performance, as well as a number of translations and book reviews.

Earlier Event: November 13
Backroom Dinner #24