By John J. White
As an essential component of his paintings as a political playwright and dramaturge, Bertolt Brecht involved himself generally with the idea of drama. He was once confident that the Aristotelian perfect of viewers catharsis via identity with a hero and the ensuing adventure of terror and pity labored opposed to his target of enhancing 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 unique examine in English of Brecht's writings at the theater to take account of works first made on hand within the fresh German variation of his gathered works. It bargains in-depth analyses of Brecht's canonical essays at the theater from 1930 to the past due Forties and early GDR years. shut readings of the person essays are supplemented through surveys of the altering connotations inside Brecht's dramaturgical oeuvre of key theoretical phrases, together with epic and anti-Aristotelian theater, de-familiarization, historicization, and dialectical theater. Brecht's exact contribution to the theorizing of appearing and viewers reaction is tested intimately, and every theoretical essay and thought is positioned within the context of the cultured debates of the time, subjected to a serious overview, and thought of in gentle of next scholarly considering. in lots of situations, the playwright's theoretical discourse is proven to hire tools of "epic" presentation and strategies of de-familiarization which are corollaries of the dramatic innovations for which his performs are justly well-known. John J. White is Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King's university London.
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Additional info for Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory (Studies in German Literature and Culture)
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). ” answers with the declaration: “Die heutige Welt ist den heutigen Menschen nur beschreibbar, wenn sie als eine veränderbare Welt beschrieben wird” (GBA, 23:340).
Between dramatic theory and “Theaterpraxis,” as well as between his plays (as part of the superstructure) and praxis. In his review of Hultberg’s Die ästhetischen Anschauungen Bertolt Brechts, Grimm set out the orthodox position on the theory-praxis relationship in Brecht’s work: Theorie und Praxis lassen sich [. ] nicht trennen; sie gehören bei Brecht unlösbar zusammen. [. ] Wekwerth [. ] überliefert noch eine weitere Bestätigung aus dem Munde Brechts: “Zu INTRODUCTION ♦ 21 unserer Spielweise gibt es keinen rein theoretischen Zugang” [GBA, 25:386].
In any case, to propose keeping something that can only be preserved after a radical change in character and function is a question-begging stance to adopt. The ensuing paragraph plays with the reader’s expectations in further ways. Seit einiger Zeit ist man auf eine Erneuerung der Oper aus. Die Oper soll, ohne daß ihr kulinarischer Charakter geändert wird, inhaltlich aktualisiert und der Form nach technifiziert werden. Da die Oper ihrem Publikum gerade durch ihre Rückständigkeit teuer ist, müßte man auf den Zustrom neuer Schichten mit neuen Appetiten bedacht sein, und man ist es auch: man will demokratisieren, natürlich ohne daß der Charakter der Demokratie geändert wird, welcher darin besteht, daß dem “Volk” neue Rechte, aber nicht die Möglichkeit, sie wahrzunehmen, gegeben werden.
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