Rosie Gaunt's Reviews > Spring's Awakening

Spring's Awakening by Frank Wedekind
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Feb 27, 11

Read in February, 2011

German Frank Wedekind's seminal work is wunderbar in the most astounding way. Disturbing, yes. Groundbreaking, yes. Still as disturbing and groundbreaking today as it was when it was published in the late 1800s. The play is a spitting attack on the oppression of teens at the turn of the century, a concentrated and venomous fin de siecle commentary, which was banned asap, and quel surprise Germany, and indeed other countries continued to oppress sex. This is a play that everyone needs to read though. This isn't just Skins (the current series, and previous one, I'm talking here in partic); shocking for the sake of shocking, which is as distasteful as a kfc taken out of a dustbin and re-microwaved and then whizzed up in a food processor until it looks like... well you know what. This is a play that is shocking but with unabashed honesty. My only regret is that it doesn't address the female teens and their desires in the same depth as the male ones, but, alack, what could one expect when in the same decade Freud published his theories of the male Oedipus-complex, and rejected his fellow-theorist, Jung's female Electra theory as 'the female version was no more than the male one in reverse'. Indeed as Simone de Beauvoir applied a feminist slant to Hegel's opposites, she said in The Second Sex: 'woman is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute - she is the Other' (1949). In all other respects however this is a seminal work not just for Wedekind, but for German literature and that of the world.

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