Weiss, Peter pā´tər vīs [key], 1916–82, German-Swedish dramatist, novelist, film director, and painter. Weiss's early novels Abschied von den Eltern (1961 tr. Leavetaking, 1962) and Fluchtpunkt (1962 tr. Vanishing Point, 1967) draw upon his emigration experience. His philosophic drama on the nature of revolution, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (1964 tr. 1965), effectively conveys the atmosphere of an insane asylum as a social microcosm. Both this and his play Die Ermittlung (1965 tr. The Investigation, 1966) were international successes. The Investigation uses texts from the 1964 Frankfurt war crimes trial to demonstrate that the capitalist system, responsible for Auschwitz, exists in postwar society. Later works include the documentary drama Trotzki im Exil (1970 tr. Trotsky in Exile, 1971) and The Song of the Lusitanian Bogey (tr. 1970).
See studies by I. Hilton (1970), K. Vance (1981), and R. Ellis (1988).
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