Brahm, Otto

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BRAHM, OTTO (originally Abrahamsohn ; 1856–1912), German stage director and drama critic. Brahm was theater critic for the Frankfurter Zeitung, Vossische Zeitung, and Die Nation, and was one of the most influential champions of Ibsen and the new naturalist school. He was cofounder and first president of Berlin's Freie Buehne (1889), a private organization which performed Ibsen and other "modernists" such as Gerhart Hauptmann and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. With the publisher S. Fischer, he founded the monthly Freie Buehne fuer modernes Leben, later renamed Neue Deutsche Rundschau, as the mouthpiece of the naturalist revolution in literature. In 1894 Brahm took over Berlin's Deutsches Theater, moving to the Lessing Theater in 1904. With his productions of Ibsen, Hauptmann, and Schnitzler, he made Berlin one of Europe's theatrical centers. The "Brahm style," a rigorous stage realism expressing subtle psychological nuances, was adopted by the actors he trained. These included Max *Reinhardt and Albert Bassermann. His greatest triumph came in 1909–10 when, at the Lessing Theater, he staged a cycle of Ibsen's 13 sociocritical plays. Paul Schlenther collected Brahm's outstanding reviews and literary essays in Kritische Schriften (2 vols., 1913–15), enlarged and revised by Fritz Martini, Otto Brahm, Kritiken und Essays (1964).


G. Hirschfeld, Otto Brahm, Briefe und Erinnerungen (1925); M. Newmark, Otto Brahm, the Man and the Critic (1938); O. Koplowitz, Otto Brahm als Theaterkritiker (1936); W. Buth, Das Lessingtheater in Berlin unter der Direktion von Otto Brahm 1904–1912 (1965). add. bibliography: H. Claus, The Theatre Director Otto Brahm, Theater and Dramatic Studies 10 (1981); O. Seidlin, "Otto Brahm," in: The German Quarterly, 36 (1963), 131–40.

[Oskar Seidlin /

Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]