Kerr, Alfred

(Alfred Kempner, 1867-1948)
   Critic. Kerr was among the most influential and innovative of theater critics during the late Wilhelmine and Weimar Republic periods. He felt that theater criticism was an art form unto itself, and over a career spanning three decades, he sought to convince everyone that he was its consummation. The certitude with which Kerr held his opinions, along with an enormous ego, fostered self-aggrandizement in nearly all his reviews. His numerous visits abroad, especially to London and New York, made him among the most cosmopolitan of the Berlin critics.
   Kerr's 1909 arrival in Berlin allowed him to develop fully his powers of observation begun as a critic in his native Breslau, then in Königsberg and Frankfurt am Main. Even as a beginner, he championed Otto Brahm, Gerhart Hauptmann, and Henrik Ibsen. His left-of-center political tendencies were apparent in his dismissal of Sudermann, though he was skeptical of both Max Reinhardt and Expressionism. Bertolt Brecht likewise failed to win his favor, describing Mann ist Mann as "nonsense from a small talent." When Kerr found an actress he liked, Fritz Kortner claimed, he "didn't write a review of her performance. He wrote her a love letter." Kerr's wit was legendary, recalling one play as "the hapless laughing at the helpless." He was prophetic in his many observations about the disaster waiting to befall the German theater under National Socialism, and he was among the first writers whom Joseph Goebbels stripped of German citizenship after the Nazis took power.
   Kerr was essentially a modernist, recognizing the novel perceptions of Frank Wedekind, Carl Sternheim, and Georg Kaiser as they consciously applied a fragmented and distorted German for the purposes of stage dialogue. Kerr shared their inventive tendencies in his reviews, eschewing traditional "reportage" narrative in favor of sentence fragments, puns, parenthetical asides, slang, and jargon grouped somewhat randomly under Roman numerals. Curt Goetz's parody of Kerr in the comedy Hokuspokus is a good example: "Roman numeral four. Poetry? A flop? A hit? A flop! All things considered: the eyes glaze over. It's a flop! Roman numeral five. But what a flop! Long live kitsch!"

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KERR, ALFRED — (pen name of Alfred Kempner; 1867–1948), German literary and theater critic and author. Kerr was born in Breslau and studied there and in Berlin. He became drama critic for the Berlin newspaper Der Tag and later for the Berliner Tageblatt.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Kerr, Alfred — born Kempner (1867 1948)    poet and critic; among the most influential drama critics during 1895 1920. Born in Breslau (now Wroclaw), he moved to Berlin* in 1887 and began writing for Tägliche Rundschau. A student of philosophy and German… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Alfred Kerr — (* 25. Dezember 1867 in Breslau als Alfred Kempner; † 12. Oktober 1948 in Hamburg) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Theaterkritiker und Journalist. Kerr war einer der einflussreichsten deutschen Kritiker in der Zeit vom Naturalismus bis 1933. Er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kerr — (né Alfred Kempner le 25 décembre 1867 à Breslau; mort le 12 octobre 1948 à Hambourg) est un écrivain, critique littéraire et journaliste allemand. Kerr fut un des critiques allemands les plus influents entre l époque naturaliste et l avènement d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alfred Kerr — (25 December 1867 ndash; 12 October 1948), born Alfred Kempner, was an influential German Jewish theatre critic and essayist, nicknamed the Kulturpapst ( Culture Pope ).Kerr was born into a prosperous family in Breslau, Silesia, taking the… …   Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kantorowicz (Schriftsteller) — Alfred Kantorowicz (Pseud. Helmuth Campe) (* 12. August 1899 in Berlin, † 27. März 1979 in Hamburg) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Publizist und Literaturwissenschaftler. Kantorowicz machte sich vor allem als Erforscher der Exilliteratur und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred-Kerr-Preis für Literaturkritik — Der Alfred Kerr Preis für Literaturkritik wurde 1977 vom Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel gestiftet. Der Preis erinnert an den Theater und Literaturkritiker und Publizisten Alfred Kerr (1867 1948) und ist mit 5.000 Euro dotiert. Er wird… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Henschke — Klabund Klabund (* 4. November 1890 in Crossen an der Oder; † 14. August 1928 in Davos; eigentlich Alfred Henschke) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kerr — (25 de diciembre de 1867 12 de octubre de 1948), nacido como Alfred Kempner, fue un influyente crítico de teatro judío alemán y ensayista, apodado el Kulturpapst ( Papa de la Cultura ). Juventud Kerr nació en una próspera familia en Breslau,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alfred Capus — (* 25. November 1858 in Aix en Provence; † 1. November 1922 in Neuilly sur Seine; Pseudonyme: Canalis und Graindorge) war ein französischer Journalist, Romancier und Theaterschriftsteller. Als Mitarbeiter der Zeitung Le Figaro veröffentlichte er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.