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The Mary Wigman Book
Her Writings
Mary Wigman; Walter Sorell, ed.; Walter Sorell, trans.

Available only as an ebook.

Wesleyan Open Books

1975 • 214 pp. 27 illus. 8 x 8"

$0.00 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7792-4

Open access - no commercial use
Click Open Access at right to check availability.

“Of utmost importance to anyone concerned with dance history”—Jack Anderson, Dance Magazine

This book is the final testament of a truly great creative artist, whose genius as dancer and choreographer was matched by her verbal gifts in both German and English. All her life long Mary Wigman expressed herself with her pen: articles in periodicals and books; letters to friends; poems, private journals and cartoons-and, in her last years, an unfinished autobiography.

Her longtime friend, translator and now her literary executor, Walter Sorell has brought together a rich selection of her work in all these categories. Her reminiscences of her studies with Rudolf van Laban from 1913 onward; of her first compositions and performances; of the dancers who flocked to her company and school at Dresden; of her triumphant American tours in 1930-1933—these are historical documents of the first importance. Equally important, in an aesthetic sense, are her considered statements on the art of dance and on some of her own works. Various as these materials are in their origins, they achieve remarkable unity through Sorell’s skillful editing and his illuminating transitional passages.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Warmly recommended to anyone interested in dance.”—Clive Barnes, New York Times


Books for College Libraries (1988) Commendation

MARY WIGMAN is considered by many to be the founder of modern dance in Europe. Born in Hanover in 1886, she studied with Emile Jacques-Dalcroze and, later, with Rudolf von Laban. She launched her public career in 1918 with “The Seven Dances of Life.” Her early students at the Wigman School in Dresden constitute the majority of the first generation of German concert dancers; she founded similar schools in Berlin and New York. She died in Berlin in 1973.

WALTER SORELL (1906-1997) was the New York dance critic for The Providence Journal from 1950 to 1966 and a contributor to publications like Dance News, Dance Magazine, Dance Observer and Ballet Today. The author of more than 25 books in English and German, he sought to unite the arts in a cultural synthesis. He also translated several important novels from the German, including Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf and Erich Maria Remarque's Arch of Triumph. His interest in modern-dance history led him to translate The Mary Wigman Book and to write the biography of Hanya Holm.

An NEH / Mellon Humanities Open Book Grant Recipient


Tue, 15 May 2018 13:55:29 -0500