Heiner Müller: Die Schlacht [The Battle / The Slaughter]

(881 words)
  • John Milfull (University of New South Wales )

Die Schlacht [The Battle / The Slaughter, 1951/1974], in a real sense Müller’s “first” play, had to wait over twenty years for performance and publication. But even by 1975, these five short scenes had lost nothing of their avant-garde, provocative quality, and in many ways their uncompromising bleakness forms a more fitting overture to Müller’s later work than the “difficult optimism” of Der Lohndrücker, Die Korrektur and Die Bauern, which had to struggle against an overwhelming sense of catastrophe. The victory of socialism was only apparent and temporary.

The title of the play is intentionally ambiguous – it connotes both the monstrous Germanic cosmology of Hitler’…

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Milfull, John. "Die Schlacht". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 March 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=14460, accessed 30 September 2016.]