Weimar Slapstick: American Eccentrics, German Grotesques


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Comparative Literature


This dissertation focuses on the influence of American slapstick comedy on German media practices during the Weimar period (1919-1933), especially filmmaking, advertising, avant-garde art, and intellectual reflection. It addresses how Weimar culture reappropriated slapstick and its forms, including a montage of gags, a grotesque body, an industrial/urban mise-en-scène, and slapstick’s status as globally circulating commodity. The dissertation is comprised of comparative analyses of the films of Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, and Felix the Cat with works by playwright Bertolt Brecht, Dadaist Raoul Hausmann, filmmakers Guido Seeber and Paul Leni, and comedian Curt Bois.