Peter Weiss

Peter Weiss

Peter Weiss (1916–1982) was a German playwright, dramatist, visual artist, filmmaker, and novelist. His works include The Aesthetics of Resistance and The Shadow of the Coachman’s Body. He is best known in the US for his play Marat/Sade: Peter Brook’s production received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1966. His documentary drama The Investigation, which recreates the trial of Auschwitz concentration camp guards, was produced on American television in the 1960s. He was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize after his death in 1982.

cover image of the book The Shadow of the Coachman's Body

The Shadow of the Coachman's Body

From the revolutionary author of Marat/Sade, a meticulously observed and macabre novel of hell on earth. The Shadow of the Coachman’s Body was unanimously praised as an original work of art by critics when it first appeared in 1960. Here, in poet Rosmarie Waldrop’s pitch-perfect translation, Weiss presents a vividly alive black comedy of inert objects—stones, buttons, needles, tin cups, celestial orbs, an overwound music box—with a supporting cast of the oblique residents of a dismal boarding house.

Described by Weiss as a “micro-novel,” his first prose work can be obscene, trivial and brutal, and yet it is also peculiarly intimate with endless possibilities—a telescope and kaleidoscope rolled into one.

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cover image of the book Conversation of the Three Wayfarers

Conversation of the Three Wayfarers

by Peter Weiss

Translated by E.B. Garside

With a contribution by John Keene

They were men who did nothing but walk walk walk. They were big, they were bearded, they wore leather caps and long raincoats, they called themselves Abel, Babel, and Cabel, and while they walked they talked to each other.

Conversation of the Three Wayfarers is a three-sided first-person monologue told by the wayfarers: Abel, Babel, and Cabel. The men exchange fantastic tales—of a bridge, a bride, and the ferryman’s sons; of an island, a river, a wharf—but one never knows who is speaking or where one tale leaves off and the next begins. The effect is of a series of breathless capers: a steeplechase performed on a floating pontoon.

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