Shakespeare Our Contemporary: a catchy title. The first time I heard it was in an undergraduate Shakespeare class at the University of Massachusetts, taught by. Notable works, Shakespeare, Our Contemporary. Notable awards, Herder Prize ( ). Jan Kott (October 27, – December 23, ) was a Polish political activist, critic and. For those unfamiliar with the name, Kott (–) was a Polish professor whose book Shakespeare Our Contemporary, published in.

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Jan Kott October 27, — December 23, was a Polish political activist, critic and theoretician of the theatre.

A leading proponent of Stalinism in Poland for nearly a decade after the Soviet takeover, Kott renounced his Communist Party membership in following the anti-Stalinist Polish October of He defected to the United States in Born in Warsaw in to a Jewish family, Kott was baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of five.

He became a communist in the s, and took part in the defense of Warsaw. In SeptemberKott fought in the Polish army in its futile campaign against the German invasion and then, after a period in Lvov, returned to Nazi-occupied Warsaw.


Shakespeare, Our Contemporary – Jan Kott – Google Books

He praised Joseph Stalin, but mostly concentrated on theater. Induring the darkest period of Soviet terror, Kott published an ideological manifesto about the role of theater, entitled “O teatr godny naszej epoki” For theater worthy of our timesin which he demanded a “new” theater subservient to the Party and its ideology.

Historian Teresa Wilniewczyc noted, that his zeal for totalitarian control over the world of Polish culture was “far more than was required”. Only after the Stalin era shakespears to an end, did he become its ardent critic March He renounced his membership of the communist party in Kott traveled to the United States in on a scholarship from the Ford Foundation.

As a result, he was stripped of his professorship at Warsaw University.

K is for Jan Kott

shakesepare A poet, translator, and literary critic, he became one of the more prolific essayists of the Polish school in America. He died in Santa Monica, California after a heart attack in As a theatrical reviewer, Kott received praise for his readings of the classics, and above all of Shakespeare. In his influential volume Shakespeare, Our Contemporaryhe interpreted the plays in the light of philosophical and existential experiences kan the 20th century, augmented with his own life’s story.


This autobiographical accent became a hallmark of his criticism.

He took a similar approach to his reading of Greek tragedy in The Eating of the Gods. Reportedly, Peter Brook ‘s film King Lear and Roman Polanski ‘s Conttemporary both made in were influenced by Kott’s view of Shakespearean high tragedy in relation to the 20th-century “nightmare of history”.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Shakespeare, our contemporary – Jan Kott – Google Books

What’s with that Academy? Retrieved December 20, Retrieved 26 December Retrieved 4 December The New York Times.

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