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Book Title: Leavetaking|
The author of the book: Peter Weiss
ISBN 13: 9781612193311
Edition: Melville House
Date of issue: July 8th 2014
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.22 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.3
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"I was on my way to look for a life of my own."
A brilliant, brutally honest autobiographical novel, long out of print, from one of the great artistic polymaths of the 20th century.
This is a Sebaldian account of the narrator's attempt to break free of a repressive upper-middle-class upbringing and make his way as an artist and individual, written in a single incantatory paragraph.
Leavetaking is the story of an upper-middle-class childhood and adolescence in Berlin between the wars. In the course of the book, Weiss plumbs the depths of family life: there is the early death of his beloved sister Margit, the difficult relationship with his parents, the fantasies of adolescence and youth, all set in the midst of an increasing anti-Semitism, which forces the Weiss family to move again and again, a peripatetic existence that only intensifies the narrator's growing restlessness.
The young narrator is largely oblivious to world events and focused instead on becoming an artist, an ambition frustrated generally by his milieu and specifically by his mother, who, herself a former actress, destroys his paintings during one of the family's moves. In the end, he turns to an older mentor, Harry Haller, a fictionalized portrait of Hermann Hesse, who encouraged and supported Weiss, and with Haller's example before him, the narrator takes his first steps towards a truly independent life. Intensely lyrical, written with great imaginative power, Leavetaking is a vivid evocation of a world that has disappeared and of the narrator's developing consciousness.
THE NEVERSINK LIBRARY champions books from around the world that have been overlooked, underappreciated, looked askance at, or foolishly ignored. They are issued in handsome, well-designed editions at reasonable prices in hopes of their passing from one reader to another—and further enriching our culture.
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Read information about the authorPeter Ulrich Weiss was a German writer, painter, and artist of adopted Swedish nationality. He is particularly known for his play Marat/Sade and his novel The Aesthetics of Resistance.
Weiss' first art exhibition took place in 1936. His first produced play was Der Turm in 1950. In 1952 he joined the Swedish Experimental Film Studio, where he made films for several years. During this period, he also taught painting at Stockholm's People's University, and illustrated a Swedish edition of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. Until the early 1960s, Weiss also wrote prose. His work consists of short and intense novels with Kafkaesque details and feelings, often with autobiographical background. One of the most known films made by Peter Weiss is an experimental one, The Mirage (1959) and the second one - it is very seldom mentioned - is a film Weiss directed in Paris 1960 together with Barbro Boman, titled Play Girls or The Flamboyant Sex (Schwedische Mädchen in Paris or Verlockung in German). Among the short films by Weiss, The Studio of Doctor Faust (1956) shows the extremely strong link of Weiss to a German cultural background.
Weiss' best-known work is the play Marat/Sade (1963), first performed in West Berlin in 1964, which brought him widespread international attention. The following year, legendary director Peter Brook staged a famous production in New York City. It studies the power in society through two extreme and extremely different historical persons, Jean-Paul Marat, a brutal hero of the French Revolution, and the Marquis de Sade, for whom sadism was named. In Marat/Sade, Weiss uses a technique which, to quote from the play itself, speaks of the play within a play within itself: "Our play's chief aim has been to take to bits great propositions and their opposites, see how they work, and let them fight it out." The play is considered a classic, and is still performed, although less regularly.
Weiss was honored with the Charles Veillon Award, 1963; the Lessing Prize, 1965; the Heinrich Mann Prize, 1966; the Carl Albert Anderson Prize, 1967; the Thomas Dehler Prize, 1978; the Cologne Literature Prize, 1981; the Bremen Literature Prize, 1982; the De Nios Prize, 1982; the Swedish Theatre Critics Prize, 1982; and the Georg Büchner Prize, 1982.
A translation of Weiss' L'instruction (Die Ermittlung) was performed at London's Young Vic theater by a Rwandan company in November 2007. The production presented a dramatic contrast between the play's view on the Holocaust and the Rwandan actors' own experience with their nation's genocide.
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