By Philip Glahn
Playwright, poet and activist Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) was once identified for his conception of the Epic Theatre and his makes an attempt to collapse the department among excessive artwork and pop culture. The Threepenny Opera, his collaboration with composer Kurt Weill, was once a milestone in musical theatre, and performs like mom braveness and Galileo replaced the process sleek drama and aesthetic conception.
Framed by means of international wars, the Weimar Republic and a world melancholy, Nazism and exile and East German socialism, Brecht’s personal existence grew to become a venture, illuminating and intervening within the ongoing obstacle of contemporary adventure, formed by way of capitalism, nationalism and visions of social utopia. Brecht upended and used as guns the language and gestures of philosophers and beggars, bureaucrats and thieves, clergymen and staff. the implications are right away humorous and tragic, well known and complicated, sharp, available and whole of enjoyment within the contradictions of being an lively half within the construction of historical past. This booklet examines Brecht’s lifestyles and paintings as a pivotal contribution to the historical past and legacy of paintings as social labour within the 20th century.
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Extra info for Bertolt Brecht (Critical Lives)
23 In Brecht’s songs and poems, the natural environment is often the site of indecent frolicking: characters roll around in meadows and have raucous picnics along riverbanks and in forests. Nature is a reminder of a paradise that never was, the province of death and destruction as well as a practical platform for dubious adventures. In ‘Spring’ (1915), the joyful expectations of the season are foiled by the cruelties of war; in ‘The Song of the Railway Workers of Fort Donald’ (1916), nature appears as man’s enemy, the winner in a battle between willpower and environmental forces; in ‘Of Swimming in Rivers and Lakes’ (1919), the potential for selfabandonment in nature is juxtaposed with the how-to mechanics and doctrinaire tone of the back-to-nature movements.
The resurrection has religious overtones, but there is no salvation: the soldier dies twice. Brecht takes on the myth of the hero’s death as made popular in best-selling books like Rainer Maria Rilke’s Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christopher Rilke), which was published in 1912, immediately sold out and supposedly could be found in every young soldier’s backpack; and Walter Flex’s Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The wanderer between two worlds, 1918).
The merchant seeks intimacy through a shared process of alienation, enacted through the fight between the ideal and the real. No matter how steadfastly Garga and his family hold onto ethical and moral convictions, they are lured deeper and deeper into a game where the only way to assert one’s identity is to give it up. To be out for solely one’s own advantage is to be just like everyone else, and the loss of all artificial pretences and categories such as right and wrong, good and bad, is at once a liberation and a death sentence.
Bertolt Brecht (Critical Lives) by Philip Glahn