Kerr, Alfred

born Kempner (1867-1948)
   poet and critic; among the most influential drama critics during 1895-1920. Born in Breslau (now Wroclaw), he moved to Berlin* in 1887 and began writing for Tägliche Rundschau. A student of philosophy and German literature, he wrote his doctoral thesis in 1894 on the poetry of Clemens Brentano and thereafter returned to his work as critic and freelance writer. His early success was partially owed to the friendship of Theo-dor Fontane, who helped him get published in the magazine Nation. Noted for elegance and wit, he already drew large fees for his journalism during his student days. By 1900 his criticism was appearing in Tag, Neue Rundschau, Frankfurter Zeitung, and Berliner Tageblatt—Germany's most prestigious newspapers*— and he was able to live and travel without financial worry. In 1911 he took the name Kerr.
   A romantic in style and form, Kerr treasured the work of Ibsen and Shaw, promoted that of Wedekind and Gerhart Hauptmann,* and misunderstood that of Bertolt Brecht.* While his poisoned-penned criticism was feared, he became Ernst Toller's* champion after seeing Die Wandlung (The transformation) in 1919. But when Kreuzweg (Crossroad) was staged in 1920, he announced that Carl Zuckmayer* would "never engender a sentence that can be spoken on the stage"; respecting Iwan Goll, he reviled Arnolt Bronnen's* Exzesse as "inco-herent and decked out with obscenities." Belatedly warming to Max Reinhardt,* he embraced the political theater* of Erwin Piscator,* due in part to his own ill-defined socialism. Equal to his criticism were his furious disputes, carried on in Berliner Tageblatt, with fellow critics Herbert Ihering* and Karl Kraus. Al-though enmity existed between Kerr and Maximilian Harden,* the latter refused to be drawn into battle with someone "who made his living by splattering me with mud." In any case, by the mid-1920s Kerr's influence was waning.
   Of Jewish heritage, Kerr fled Germany on 15 February 1933. He was in London by late 1935 and eventually assisted the BBC with its anti-Nazi broad-casts. At the behest of Britain's Foreign Office, the eighty-one-year-old Kerr returned to Germany in 1948 as part of a lecture tour; he died in Berlin.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; NDB, vol. 11; Willett, Theatre of the Weimar Republic; Young, Maximilian Harden.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • KERR, ALFRED — (pen name of Alfred Kempner; 1867–1948), German literary and theater critic and author. Kerr was born in Breslau and studied there and in Berlin. He became drama critic for the Berlin newspaper Der Tag and later for the Berliner Tageblatt.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Kerr, Alfred — (Alfred Kempner, 1867 1948)    Critic. Kerr was among the most influential and innovative of theater critics during the late Wilhelmine and Weimar Republic periods. He felt that theater criticism was an art form unto itself, and over a career… …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Alfred Kerr — (* 25. Dezember 1867 in Breslau als Alfred Kempner; † 12. Oktober 1948 in Hamburg) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Theaterkritiker und Journalist. Kerr war einer der einflussreichsten deutschen Kritiker in der Zeit vom Naturalismus bis 1933. Er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kerr — (né Alfred Kempner le 25 décembre 1867 à Breslau; mort le 12 octobre 1948 à Hambourg) est un écrivain, critique littéraire et journaliste allemand. Kerr fut un des critiques allemands les plus influents entre l époque naturaliste et l avènement d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alfred Kerr — (25 December 1867 ndash; 12 October 1948), born Alfred Kempner, was an influential German Jewish theatre critic and essayist, nicknamed the Kulturpapst ( Culture Pope ).Kerr was born into a prosperous family in Breslau, Silesia, taking the… …   Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kantorowicz (Schriftsteller) — Alfred Kantorowicz (Pseud. Helmuth Campe) (* 12. August 1899 in Berlin, † 27. März 1979 in Hamburg) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Publizist und Literaturwissenschaftler. Kantorowicz machte sich vor allem als Erforscher der Exilliteratur und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred-Kerr-Preis für Literaturkritik — Der Alfred Kerr Preis für Literaturkritik wurde 1977 vom Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel gestiftet. Der Preis erinnert an den Theater und Literaturkritiker und Publizisten Alfred Kerr (1867 1948) und ist mit 5.000 Euro dotiert. Er wird… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Henschke — Klabund Klabund (* 4. November 1890 in Crossen an der Oder; † 14. August 1928 in Davos; eigentlich Alfred Henschke) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alfred Kerr — (25 de diciembre de 1867 12 de octubre de 1948), nacido como Alfred Kempner, fue un influyente crítico de teatro judío alemán y ensayista, apodado el Kulturpapst ( Papa de la Cultura ). Juventud Kerr nació en una próspera familia en Breslau,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alfred Capus — (* 25. November 1858 in Aix en Provence; † 1. November 1922 in Neuilly sur Seine; Pseudonyme: Canalis und Graindorge) war ein französischer Journalist, Romancier und Theaterschriftsteller. Als Mitarbeiter der Zeitung Le Figaro veröffentlichte er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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