Brecht Collected Plays

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Bloomsbury USA Academic, 1970 - Drama - 456 pages
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Volume Four of Brecht's Collected Plays contains works from the 1930s.'Round Heads and Pointed Heads, based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, is a powerful political allegory on Nazi racial policy and conditions in Germany. Fear and Misery of the Third Reich creates a montage of some thirty short scenes, showing ordinary life under the Nazis permeated by suspicion and anxiety. Senora Carrar's Rifles is based on J.M. Synge's Riders to the Sea, relocated by Brecht in the Spanish Civil War. The Trial of Lucullus, a radio play, is a starkly poetic pacifist text, in which the Roman general is tried by the Underworld for his military triumphs. Also included are two one-act plays, Dansen and How Much Is Your Iron? The volume includes an introduction and notes by Tom Kuhn and John Willett as well as variants and additional relevant texts by Brecht.

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Contents

Entries in roman type indicate texts by Brecht
367
Editorial note on the text
371
DRUMS IN THE NIGHT
391
On looking through my first plays i
405
The Deutsches Theater acting version
421
Prologue to Jungle
434
The plays literary ancestry by Gerhard Nellhaus
450
Copyright

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About the author (1970)

Critics have said that Eric Bentley has given a new direction to theatrical history and represents the German avant-garde in drama. Brecht's most ambitious venture in verse drama, Saint Joan of the Stockyards (1933), was written in Germany shortly before Hitler came to power. Brecht left his homeland in 1993. Before he came to the United States in 1941, he was one of the editors of a short-lived anti-Nazi magazine in Moscow (1936--39). In 1949 his play Mother Courage and Her Children, which was a Marxist indictment of the economic motives behind internal aggression, was produced in the United States. Brecht found a large audience as librettist for Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, an adaptation of John Gay's Beggar's Opera. Brecht is considered a playwright who saw the stage as a platform for the presentation of a message. His aim was to transform the state from a place of entertainment to a place for instruction and public communication. He called himself an epic realist. In 1947, Brecht was summoned to Washington, D.C., by the on Un-American Activities Committee, before which he testified. He firmly denied that he had ever been a member of the Communist Party. How radical Brecht really was has been the subject of considerable controversy; but, for literary purposes, his politics need only be judged as they contributed to his artistry. In his final years Brecht experimented with his own theater and company-the Berliner Ensemble-which put on his plays under his direction and which continued after his death with the assistance of his wife. Brecht aspired to create political theater, and it is difficult to evaluate his work in purely aesthetic terms. It is likely that the demise of Marxist governments will influence his reputation over the next decade, though the changes are difficult to predict. Brecht died in 1956.