The Machine Wreckers
Author: Ernst Toller
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Release Date: September 01, 1996
Ernst Toller was an active revolutionary who was also an accomplished poet and playwright. Indeed he became a writer during a five-year prison sentence for his part in the 1919 November Revolution in Bavaria. He was jailed at the age of 25: by the time of his release in 1924 he had written four major plays, now acknowledged masterpieces of German Expressionism, all of which had been performed by the leading avant-garde theatres of the day. The Machine Wreckers is one of those plays. Set largely in Nottingham in the early years of the 19th century, it depicts the suffering amongst the local weavers, caused by the introduction of mechanised looms - the 'machines' of the title. The resultant Luddite riots were defended in the House by Lord Byron in his maiden speech there.