Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory (Studies in German by John J. White

By John J. White

As a vital part of his paintings as a political playwright and dramaturge, Bertolt Brecht involved himself largely with the speculation of drama. He was once confident that the Aristotelian excellent of viewers catharsis via id with a hero and the consequent event of terror and pity labored opposed to his objective of improving society. He didn't want his audiences to think, yet to imagine, and his major theoretical thrusts -- "Verfremdungseffekte" (de-familiarization units) and epic theater, between others -- have been conceived in pursuit of this objective. this is often the 1st particular research in English of Brecht's writings at the theater to take account of works first made to be had within the fresh German variation of his accrued works. It bargains in-depth analyses of Brecht's canonical essays at the theater from 1930 to the past due Nineteen Forties and early GDR years. shut readings of the person essays are supplemented by means of surveys of the altering connotations inside of Brecht's dramaturgical oeuvre of key theoretical phrases, together with epic and anti-Aristotelian theater, de-familiarization, historicization, and dialectical theater. Brecht's specified contribution to the theorizing of appearing and viewers reaction is tested intimately, and every theoretical essay and notion is positioned within the context of the classy debates of the time, subjected to a serious evaluate, and thought of in mild of next scholarly pondering. in lots of instances, the playwright's theoretical discourse is proven to hire equipment of "epic" presentation and strategies of de-familiarization which are corollaries of the dramatic options for which his performs are justly recognized. John J. White is Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King's university London.

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Echoing Marx’s eleventh “Feuerbach-Thesis”: “Ich wollte auf das Theater den Satz anwenden, daß es nicht nur darauf ankommt, die Welt zu interpretieren, sondern sie zu verändern” (GBA, 23:340). ” answers with the declaration: “Die heutige Welt ist den heutigen Menschen nur beschreibbar, wenn sie als eine veränderbare Welt beschrieben wird” (GBA, 23:340). Just what such a conception of activist-interventionist drama implies has been the subject of much debate and we shall be returning to this contentious issue in a number of the chapters that follow.

Mitherrschende, gesellschaftlich betrachtet schon proletaroide — Kopfarbeiter” (GBA, 24:74). Or the claim that, “in der Meinung, sie seien im Besitz eines Apparates, der in Wirklichkeit sie besitzt, verteidigen sie einen Apparat, über den sie keine Kontrolle mehr haben, der nicht mehr, wie sie noch glauben, Mittel für die Produzenten ist, sondern Mittel gegen die Produzenten wurde” (GBA, 24:75). Any putative rhetoric of self-effacement would seem 15 to be little in evidence in these instances.

Es ist eine Lust unseres Zeitalters,” §46 of Kleines Organon declares, “alles so zu begreifen, daß wir eingreifen können” (GBA, 23:82). “Wir können den andern nur begreifen, wenn wir in ihn eingreifen können. Auch uns selbst können wir nur begreifen, indem wir in uns eingreifen” (GBA, 24:182). Similarly, in the “Episches Theater” section of the Katzgraben notes, one finds B. echoing Marx’s eleventh “Feuerbach-Thesis”: “Ich wollte auf das Theater den Satz anwenden, daß es nicht nur darauf ankommt, die Welt zu interpretieren, sondern sie zu verändern” (GBA, 23:340).

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