Jan Kott

Jan Kott (1914–2001) was a Polish theatre critic and theorist. A leading proponent of Stalinism in Poland for nearly a decade after the Soviet takeover, Kott renounced his Communist Party membership in 1957 and defected to the United States in 1965, where he taught at Yale University, the University of California–Berkeley and Stony Brook University. Kott wrote regularly for American journals such as the New Republic, Partisan Review and the New York Review of Books, and is best known for his book Shakespeare, Our Contemporary (1964). Aside from Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, he also wrote about Japanese theatre, Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski. He translated works by Jean-Paul Sartre, Denis Diderot, Eugène Ionesco and Molière into Polish and English. Kott is regarded as having tremendous influence upon Western productions of Shakespeare in the second half of the twentieth century.

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