"it is history that I am writing."
-Judith Malina in her diary on May 18, 1959.

The Diaries of Judith Malina, Volumes 1-4 publishes for the first time together the edited diaries of anarchist Jewish German-American theatre director Judith Malina from the most influential period of her career, 1947-1971. Malina (1926-2015) was a stage director, actor, and activist who co-founded The Living Theatre in 1947 with her husband Julian Beck. The Living Theatre remains the longest-running American experimental theatre, and continues today.

A committed anarchist and pacifist, Judith Malina made theatre as a way to engage in revolutionary activism. Her exquisite and detailed diaries showcase her political and social observations, cultural commentary, deep self-reflection, and wit. In these diaries, she chronicles not only her life and that of her theatre, but vivid analyses of politics and culture and the people with whom she worked, studied, and socialized: Merce Cunningham, Bayard Rustin, Salvador Dali, Martin Buber, Maya Deren, Jean-Louis Barrault, Allen Ginsberg, Martin Sheen, Erwin Piscator, James Agee, the Berrigan brothers, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. Her diaries are important primary sources that speak to her artistic practice and life. The diaries serve as a record of her company, and also a dazzling example of literature.

This four-volume book, edited by theatre historian, director, and dramaturg Kate Bredeson, brings together new editions—with new photographs and introductions—of Malina’s long out-of-print published diaries alongside two new volumes of previously unpublished diaries.

The book outline is:

Volume One: A new edition of The Diaries of Judith Malina, 1947-1957 (Grove Press, 1984), edited by Judith Malina, with a new introduction and photos selected by Kate Bredeson.

Volume Two: An edition of Malina’s previously unpublished diaries from 1957-August 1968, edited by, and with an introduction and photos selected by Kate Bredeson, with a forward by Thomas Walker.

Volume Three: A new edition of The Enormous Despair: The Diary of Judith Malina, August 1968-April 1969 (Random House, 1972), edited by Judith Malina, with a new introduction and photos selected by Kate Bredeson.

Volume Four: An edition of Malina’s previously unpublished diaries from April 1969-September 1971, edited by, and with an introduction and photos selected by Kate Bredeson, with a forward by Ilion Troya.

Malina’s diaries tell the story of her theatre company and its decades of defiance against capitalism and commercialism, and the struggles of making art to serve as a way to resist. These diaries resonate deeply now during ongoing struggles for racial and class justice and against capitalism. The diaries concurrently tell the story of Malina as a woman, mother, lover, and observer of and participant in a vibrant international scene of arts and politics. Malina is known for her exceptionally driven work as a stage director at a time when women were not accepted as professional directors, her devoted life in anarchism, and her thrilling work as an actor. She lived a bold life against norms, in non-monogamy, non-traditional motherhood, radical Judaism, and pacificism. To her, theatre was a way to try to build a better world, and she started The Living Theatre with Julian Beck in service of this goal. Her diaries record her singular honesty and fearlessness alongside vivid lyrical descriptions of her surroundings. These volumes are crucial resources for students, scholars, artists, activists, and also appeal to the general reader.

"This long awaited, fascinating volume, The Diaries of Judith Malina, 1958-1971, goes far in filling the gap in our understanding of and appreciation for the unique voice, experiences, achievements and perspectives of Judith Malina, the passionate artist-activist and cofounder of The Living Theatre, a groundbreaking ensemble that landed at the center of the zeitgeist during the decade these diaries span. In Malina’s intimate, sharply etched and riveting chronicles, astutely and sensitively edited by Kate Bredeson, we can "feel alongside her in the moment" as Bredeson writes in her illuminating, strongly argued introduction, tracking an extraordinary life of/in the theatre that can teach us volumes about a revolutionary time not so different from our own."
- Cindy Rosenthal, Professor of Drama and Dance at Hofstra University.  
"This thrilling new installment in the publication of Judith Malina’s diaries brings readers into a tumultuous, largely nomadic, highly creative, and often contentious period of The Living Theatre. While the company constantly grapples with cops, creditors, critics, and the conflicts of communal living, this visionary artist also invents new forms, develops theories of political theater, exalts and agonizes over love affairs, and gives birth and tends to a daughter. Her sparkling, pithy descriptions of places ("gray roofs glowing in Paris"; "the busy vegetation of Cefalù") and people (Genet, Grotowski, Dorothy Day . . . ) bring every encounter to vivid life, and her honest questioning of all assumptions -- except her commitment to pacifism, whether audience members lift her up in triumph or spit in her face -- never cease to inspire. I can’t wait for the next volume."
- Professor Alisa Solomon, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
"Judith Malina was an extraordinary artist whose copious diaries reveal her struggle between a love of the world and a desire to revolutionize it. At this moment in history, her soulfulness and fierce honesty, joined to radical politics and ideals, appear as a timely gift to a world theatre community searching for inspirational figures. In its use of archival material and reflections on the diary as a literary form, Kate Bredeson’s Introduction opens up new perspectives on this great woman of the American theatre who embraced livingness in all its splendor and turmoil in pursuit of her vision."
- Bonnie Marranca, editor, PAJ: a journal of performance and art, and author of Timelines: writings and conversations, Performance Histories, Ecologies of Theatre.

This project is possible due to support from:

Furthermore Foundation
NEH Summer Stipend
Edith and Richard French Visiting Research Fellowship, Beinecke Library
New York Public Library Short Term Fellowship
American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) Research Fellowship
Travis Bogard Residency at Tao House
Dora Maar House Residency and Fellowship
Caldera Artist Residency
Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency
New York Mills Artist Residency
Playa at Summer Lake Artist Residency
Reed College Burlingame Funds
Reed College Stillman Drake Awards
Reed College Summer Scholarship Awards
and the support of The Living Theatre and the Malina Estate