Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory

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Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory is the first detailed study in English of Bertolt Brecht's writings on the theater to take into account the substantial new material first made available in the recent German edition of his collected works. It offers in-depth analyses of Brecht's canonical essays on the theater, ranging from his notes of 1930 on the innovative opera Mahagonny to the unfinished Messingkauf project of the late 1940s and early GDR years. Close readings of the individual essays are supplemented by surveys of the connotations and changing status within Brecht's dramaturgical oeuvre of key theoretical terms, including epic and anti-Aristotelian theater, de-familiarization, historicization, and dialectical theater.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Should become the standard reference in English for understanding Brecht's difficult and seemingly contradictory statements...A book that will now be the definitive resource on this topic. Essential. CHOICE John J. White's thorough, many-faceted account of the sources and evolution of Brecht's ideas and how he sought to realize them provides a wealth of astute analysis useful to theatrical practitioners, to teachers and scholars of literature, and, in part at least, to social scientists. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW, 2006 White's presentation excels in close readings of strategically chosen texts in five chronologically arranged chapters....This is a solid volume with abundant explanatory footnotes, comprehensive bibliography, and detailed index. GERMAN QUARTERLY Thanks to White's insights ... Brecht's fierce critical intelligence and the philosophical irony that modulates and redeems it strike the reader anew. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory is the first detailed study in English of Brecht's writings on the theatre to take into account the substantial new material first made available in the recent German edition of his collected works.... (A work) suggesting new possibilities for Brecht scholars and others interested in his works. GERMANIC NOTES AND REVIEWS This is an encyclopaedic undertaking whose philological rigour marks the study as a major work of Germanistik. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW (A) nuanced, thorough, and stimulating investigation cum critical evaluation of Brecht's theorizing on theater.... MONATSHEFTE Brecht was obliged to calibrate his statements for particular audiences and situations.... Temperamentally ... (he) was disposed to be poetically indirect rather than to strive for maximum transparency. John J. White deserves considerable credit both for taking on the challenge of analyzing Brecht's theory as a whole, and for doing so in a manner that never loses sight of those complexities. TEXT AND PRESENTATION
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King's College London.
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Table of Contents

1 Epic opera and epic theater : "Anmerkungen zur Oper Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny" (1930) 26
2 Conceptualizing the exile work : "Nicht-Aristotelisches Theater," "Verfremdung," and "Historisierung" 77
3 The dramaturgical poems and their contexts 132
4 Preparations for East Berlin : Kleines Organon fur das Theater (1948) 181
5 "Viel Theorie in Dialogform" : the Messingkauf project (1939-1956) 238
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