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John Sinclair - Folge 1834
Variations sur le paradoxe. Die Kunst selbst ist Natur: Johann Georg von Dillis, Poggio a Caiano Prato: La Cavalcata dei Magi di Benozzo Gozzoli: Zuo wei Zhongguo mei shu zhi liu de Riben hui hua: Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India: Briefe nach Chemnitz, La dimora della valle Vigezzo: The discovery of El Greco: Sussex Academic Press, Sandomierz w malarstwie Jurija Sulimowa. Wydawnictwo Diecezjalne Sandomierz, Gu gong chu ban she, nian 11 yue. The great houses of Calcutta: Flying Fish Press ; Portland, Oregon: Publishing Corporation, June Shipped but not sold: Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Dr.
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A shining constant in the artistic sky: Kirche, Kunst und Kanzel: Luther und die Folgen der Reformation. Raffaello e Perugino attorno a due sposalizi della Vergine. Centre Pompidou Editions Sebald und William Kentridge. Wilhelm Fink, Brill Deutschland, . University of Oklahoma Press, . Bellini, Michel-Ange, Le Parmesan: The war of appearances: University Press of Mississippi, . Beaux-arts de Paris, . Performance art in Eastern Europe since Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, .
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Some are also more elevated or more technical in register than the English equivalents usually offered for them. Thespians of the old school, he complains, achieve their effects: Sie versetzen sich selber und das Publikum in Trance. Sie versetzen sich in Abschiedsstimmung. The Mahagonny notes go on to declare: Other nouns in the German original possess different nuances or are in a different register to their standard English translations.
Its primary association in German is with mechanical engineering rather than the dizzy heights of Dada and Surrealism. Elsewhere Brecht speaks of the music and song being montage components. In fact, Brecht makes repeated references to the correspondence during , the year of his work on both Kleines Organon and the Antigonemodell. A note in GBA, However, the journal entry for 8 January GBA, Das wird durch die verfremdende Spielweise abgestellt.
In doing so it picks up the traces of an idea that had already been present in the passage in the Mahagonny notes about the man gorging himself to death in scene Of course, there is no reason why it has to focus exclusively on just the one or the other. It was not until the late s that Brecht returned to his earlier points about epic characteristics, now providing an account of them with reference to the Goethe-Schiller correspondence. In a journal entry for 3 January , he notes: Conceivably, Brecht was already moving towards his later stated position that a concern with epic structure was too formalist GBA, Although often translated into English by the nearest available nouns — cf.
But it is not at the grammatical level that the principal difficulty lies. It may be self-evident that 51 See Salm for a survey of the genesis and implications of this botanical metaphor. Fundamental objections to the uncritical way in which Staiger derives abstract qualititative nouns e. The gerundival form has been chosen to create such intertwined associations. In Epic Theater, it is not only characters who tell each other stories: More important, this narrative function is also fulfilled by 54 Midgley , And in any case, according to recent work, the covert quotation from Marx is less vulgarly de55 terminist than Hultberg would have his reader believe.
One of the clearest 55 See Avineri , 75—77, on the misreadings of this passage and for an account of what Marx really meant. Die determinierenden Faktoren, wie soziales Milieu, spezielle Ereignisse usw. Thus, selective stress on one element in the table can lead to diametrically opposite conclusions: The true Brecht, it might therefore be argued, is not to be located in either 11 or For over a quarter of a century, he repeatedly found himself having to define — and refine — his position, legislating which kinds of emotion Epic Theater rejected and which were permissible.
But no amount of clarification seems to have helped. Even empathy will eventually be re-admitted to the domain of Epic Theater, provided it is framed in such a way as to make the emotional experience productive. Or that it would make a sufficient splash. Regrettably, the discussion hurries quickly on at this point from an explanation of Epic Theater to a consideration of Epic Opera, formulated in such a way as to do little more than prepare for the discussion of music in the next section. See also Zutshi When the table was revised in exile for insertion into a new context, the strength of such a reference risked becoming obscure.
Hence, the allusion is removed. The deficit is not substantial, however, even on the right-hand side of the table. It now forms part of a different debate, signaled in the title, and no longer relates to Mahagonny. Nor is it primarily concerned with the differences between Dramatic and Epic Theater. Nevertheless, few editions make this clear. In Willett, for example, the section does not appear as such.
Since only the new edition includes the section in its proper form, I quote the passage in full: Der Zuschauer des dramatischen Theaters sagt: Der Zuschauer des epischen Theaters sagt: If so, the fact that it reappeared in the Malik edition 1: Brecht may have simply wished to document the fact that his original statement had worked with an explicitly Marxist component, one representing a vital bridge leading from the revised scheme back to the sociological and political analysis of theater as institution of the period leading up to the Mahagonny notes.
If the above-noted revisions had been made with this in mind, then any inclusion of such a contentious passage from Marx might well, after his mixed treatment at the hands of the Third International, have looked imprudent by this time. Here, he appears to be trying to do something similar in the case of epic discontinuity. Each represents a complex synthesizing of what Brecht by now held to be a false dichotomy. The relationship between the one and its counterpart has beeen transposed onto a dialectical plane, inasmuch as the behavior being displayed onstage is designed first to elicit an antithetical response from the ideal audience of Epic Theater; but then, the ideal audience response will be to transcend such a simple antithesis.
As his letter to Comrade M. His interest is now more decidedly in highlighting the enjoyment that comes with learning. For details see Kebir Nevertheless, the charge of barbarism does not have to represent an unequivocally hostile gesture towards all that Stanislavsky represents. For the one is mainly confined to structural features, while the other is concerned with performance concepts. That crucial effect is lost in all but the GBA edition. Nevertheless, it behaves as though it ought to be one.
Obviously, Epic Theater could not have remained a parallel, rather than contrastive, point of reference at this late phase of the argument if over-specific illustrations from opera had been included. By remaining at the level of principles Brecht can still maintain the dominant comparison in the notes between Epic Theater and Epic Opera. Similarly, it links the function of gesture and stage-props and the way in which the singer and the music draw attention to anti-illusionistic aspects of performance and adopt a stance to what is being displayed.
By the end of the section, however, it almost looks as if the converse is happening.
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A token reactionary or otherwise unacceptable view is expressed or mimicked so as to allow the main voice to elaborate the correct position. Here, the idea that audiences used to traditional opera might feel that it is in jeopardy becomes a pretext, not so much for a direct response as for a cameo caricature of demeaning audience behavior. That is to say: Kann man sie veranlassen, ihre Zigarren herauszuziehen? Whatever members of the above kind of audience do or whatever they expect from opera, they must be replaced.
In order to show, once more ex negativo, what is the wrong way to conjure up the new audience, the notes launch into a final barbed attack on formal and thematic innovation for its own sake a diatribe substantially expanded for Versuche 2, no doubt because it was now less counterproductive to imply specific targets than it might have been in Musik und Gesellschaft.
The flurry of avant-garde experiments evoked at the beginning of the notes is now seen as merely marking time. The Mahagonny notes conclude by looking in both directions at once. The final stated goal of developing the means of pleasure into an object of instruction GBA, This is coupled with an optimistic picture of an embryonic Marxist theater designed to attack the base. As Kobel has pointed out, Brecht argues as if the audience of Aristotelian theater took no political views to the theater with them Kobel , But the real problem in the early s was that a large portion of potential theater audiences was of the radical political right.
His situation in exile from [. Other factors played a part in this radical change of orientation. If the impressive corpus of theoretical writings from the Scandinavian period is circumspect about political assumptions and long-term goals, and might at times appear to be laying Brecht open to the charge of showing more concern for artistic than political radicalism, there was one further key reason for this shift of emphasis: And while he usually refused to comply, the shadow of such an injunction nevertheless exercized a distorting effect on his theoretical writings during the Scandinavian years and in US exile.
The assertion has by no means been laid to rest. Hier zeigte sich klar und berechnet Brechts Unterscheidung zwischen Wesentlichem und Unwesentlichem. As a consequence, he preferred to concentrate his polemics closer to home: In New York, however, he suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a salutary lesson, experiencing at first hand the hold the drama of manipulated empathy continued to exercise on large sections of the contemporary theater world.
The bulk of the rest attempt 5 to pinpoint the lessons to be learnt from the Theatre Union adaptation. Things started to go wrong almost from the outset. Dennoch reagierte der Apparat durchaus als ein Apparat zur Herstellung von Rauschwirkungen. A campaign of self-promotion had also been set in motion. Ground was eventually yielded on both sides, but the result was a hybrid that satisfied no one. As part of a — by then typical — learning-from-defeat strategy, Brecht subjected these reviews to a critique.
Legally preto have the Theatre Union stage his work should have been warning enough. See Wolf , — He placed an expanded version in the Left Review 10 While engaged in a massive theoretical rethink, Brecht at least had the advantage of knowing that Die Mutter had recently been performed according to rigorous epic principles back in Denmark.
The Danish amateurs, Berlau records, had no difficulty in depicting working-class characters; and the esprit de corps engendered by collective work on the play was so contagious that some of the cast went off to fight in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Brecht was nevertheless unable to take comfort from the knowledge that the New York failure was compensated for by a Danish production.
Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Theory (Studies in German Literature and Culture) - PDF Free Download
What the Theatre Union fiasco had brought to his attention demanded a more thorough-going response than any faithful production could ever offer. His eyes had been been opened to the fact that he would need to clarify his theoretical position and perhaps even compromise if he was to make an impact in America. That could be either the cause or merely a side-effect of more fundamental factors.
But Stanislavsky and his fellow-artists at MAT were obviously increasing their hold on contemporary drama. He was quick to deduce that this new wave offered the twin attractions of methodically systematized rehearsal and performance techniques and a political rationale for the exploitation of feeling in left-wing theater: Das System Stanislawskis ist ein Fortschritt schon deswegen, weil es ein System ist. If the exercise was also to be of practical value, Brecht realized, Epic Theater would need to learn from an analysis of what the Stanislavskians regarded as distractions from total identification GBA, What they wished to avoid was what Epic Theater needed to exploit for distancing purposes.
Although fundamentally opposed to the ideas and techniques that Stanislavsky and his followers promoted, Brecht clearly admired the way the Stanislavsky method was documented in a series of authoritative publications, thus identifying itself as a coherent and meticulously explained performance theory. It also had heuristic value for his own theoretical self-understanding. Nor does Brecht engage with the fact that Aristotelian catharsis is less central to the Stanislavskian conception of dramatic effect than is being implied.
At the same time that he was studying Stanislavsky, Brecht embarked on a substantial reformulation of Epic Theater. Die bekannte Forderung der drei Einheiten betrachten wir nicht als diesen Hauptpunkt, sie wird vom Aristoteles auch gar nicht erhoben, wie die neuere Forschung festgestellt hat. A subsequent note on catharsis among the fragments of Der Messingkauf spells this out: It was little more than a Pyrrhic victory for Brecht to have to introduce himself to a sophisticated Theatre Workshop readership with, of all things, thoughts about Die Dreigroschenoper.
And it could only have been something of an indignity to find himself figuring in New Theatres for Old alongside such a galaxy of competing forms of twentieth-century theater in a compendious work whose author was by all accounts largely sympathetic towards the theater of identification. As Brecht was later to remark, this was not the only bone of contention: Das Theater eines wissenschaftlichen Zeitalters wird zum wissenschaftlichen Theater. Sometimes key terms e.
But because the discursive setting of these reconceptualizations of Brechtian theater is of some significance, I propose to look first at the three major essays written during the second half of the s: As such a compromise implies, Brecht was trying to launch a fresh series of unfamiliar and sometimes unhelpfully neologistic terms within a relatively short period.
The majority of these pieces date from Reiches, for the same journal. From —33, when Desmond MacCarthy had been the editor of what was then simply entitled Life and Letters, the London monthly retained a strong interest in contemporary drama. Brecht begins with a more succinct statement of purpose than can be found in any of the theoretical writings hitherto: Im nachfolgenden soll kurz auf die Anwendung des Verfremdungseffekts in der alten chinesischen Schauspielkunst hingewiesen werden. Such moving back and forth between Asiatic acting conventions and contemporary Western theater involves more than rapid shifts in perspective.
The very choice of concepts an even more complicated feature in the English translation where there is no Brechtian German precedent to build on creates a clash between oriental practices and Western descriptive vocabulary. At this point the translation inserts: Die Diderot-Gesellschaft setzt sich die Aufgabe, [. Yet that is precisely what the essay appears to suggest. There may well have been an element of organized chance to the Moscow encounter with Mei Lan-fang.
In connection with this, Antony Tatlow notes: It is worth bearing in mind that an earlier draft dating from GBA, Note also the telling remark, when Brecht is describing the effect of Chinese acting on a Westerner: Darunter ist folgendes zu verstehen: Diese Auffassung mag die Existenz einer Geschichte zugeben, aber es ist dennoch eine geschichtslose Auffassung. Yet it looks suspiciously as if Brecht had taken deliberate liberties with the material. Esta merely elopes, only to be abandoned on becoming pregnant, while Clyde leaves when suspected of being an accomplice to a road accident.
And he may have had good reasons for doing so. Ist es dazu imstande? Was es hier, als Familienmitglied, gelernt hat, wird ihm das helfen, den Unterhalt zu verdienen? Sind sie eine Last geworden oder geblieben? Ist das so bei allen Familien? War das immer so? Ist das der Lauf der Welt, der nicht zu beeinflussende? Gilt hier dieser Satz? Taten sie es zu allen Zeiten? Wenn ja, wenn es etwas Biologisches ist, geschieht es immer in der gleichen Weise, aus demselben Grunde, mit den gleichen Folgen?
Wenn die Mutter unter Ermahnungen und moralischen Forderungen der Tochter den Koffer packt, der sehr klein ist — wie zeigt man das: Das kann nur erreicht werden, wenn der V-Effekt hervorgebracht wird. The tone is guardedly reformist rather than stridently revolutionary. And there are often times when his need to measure himself against the Stanislavsky of My Life in Art had a distorting effect on the scope of the dramaturgical writings. This was hardly the case, however, with his second major theoretical work of the late s.
Encouraged by the response, Brecht repeated it the following year before a student audience in Helsinki. This time he was less impressed: That is, it was a bridge between the two innovative accounts of acting: Although the general impression is of a broad survey of contemporary drama, Brecht strikes a defensive note when it comes to Epic Theater: One finds a clearer sense of teleology in the Stockholm lecture than in the essay on Chinese acting.
When Brecht concludes by asking: While not being a matter of the difference between a scientific experiment and a literary one, this does suggest that Brecht is using the experiment metaphor to minimize the distinction between a seemingly objective process and an ideologically driven one. The Theater of the Scientific Age, as conceived by Brecht, is in part characterized by the fact that it turned to different academic disciplines from those favored by the Naturalists. Given the two contexts of the lecture Sweden was studiously neutral and Finland feared the Soviet Union more than Nazi Germany , Brecht is obliged to signal his political premises obliquely.
The crisis of contemporary theater Brecht posits was one of which he had considerable experience, as it involved the problematic relationship between entertainment and didacticism, empathy and critical distance. The case presented against empathy rests on three charges: Wenn man auf die Hypnose verzichtete, an was konnte man appellieren? Die Haltung des Lear wird verfremdet, d. That principle he sums up in the following way: Although addressing audiences of amateur actors, it makes little of acting; indeed, in places it seems more fascinated by the potential of stage machinery. Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden Bern, , Too much of the Stockholm lecture had been taken up with surveying modern European drama in general, leaving comparatively little space for Epic Theater.
Both serve a similar function: Im folgenden soll der Versuch gemacht werden, eine Technik der Schauspielkunst zu beschreiben, die auf einigen Theatern angewandt wurde [. Brecht had always been fascinated by relationships of proportionality. Das Mitsprechen von Spielanweisungen und Kommentaren. One particular aspect of preparation stands out because it is evidence of a dialectical conception of acting a part. It concerns the creation of an antithetical response on the part of the audience: Er sagt zum Beispiel: Er geht nach links vorn und nicht nach rechts hinten.
Fixieren des Nicht — Sondern. Even in , Brecht can still be found using a plural: On the contrary, the alternatives represent models of audience reaction. Den meisten gemeinsam war jedenfalls das vielseitig brauchbare grammatische Modell des Ja-aber: Two common examples are initially flagged: But the main emphasis is on the street, not the theater: In support of this contention, the appendix cites a number of examples: Hast du dir schon einmal deine Uhr genau angesehen?
Die Frage hat ihn verfremdet, und das sollte sie. Eine Verfremdung des Autos tritt ein, wenn wir schon lange einen modernen Wagen gefahren haben, nun eines der alten T-Modelle H. Der Motor ist ein Explosionsmotor. Again, circumstances may have obliged him to make estrangement seem less a matter of ideology than it really was, possibly because he would be more likely to gain acceptance in America if he came across as a man of the theater without extreme political views.
Theater models and models from our everyday world can be juxtaposed to suggest their potential for reciprocal illumination. We are not expected to react by saying simply: It is not by chance that the sections of the appendix devoted to more sociopolitical ideas 16—19 are substantially longer than those explaining dramatic principles. Estrangement is presented by reference to what it is intended to combat, rather than how it works or in the context of its politically constructive function.
But the terms of the discussion are not really antithetical. It is an end. Despite earlier problems with the schematic expression of different kinds of theater by means of oppositional pairings, Brecht once more operates with a dominant contrast. The plural in this case probably means in general, in all the plays seen, but one cannot be sure whether identification with collectives is again being suggested.
If a number of people are in the same predicament, it is theoretically feasible to identify with them as a collective. But the other possibility — that the audience can identify with a situation — means little more than that some scenes in a play stimulate heightened emotional involvement of an illfocused kind. What follows involves an example which would have been read very differently by Brecht: Suppose a man, who believes that he has cause to be jealous about his wife, witnesses a performance of Othello.
He will the more perfectly appreciate the situation, conduct and character of Othello, the more exactly the feelings and experiences of Othello coincide with his own — at least he ought to on the principle of concordance. In point of fact, he will probably do anything but appreciate the play. In reality, the concordance will merely render him acutely conscious of his own jealousy; by a sudden reversal of perspective he will no longer see Othello apparently betrayed by Desdemona, but himself in an analogous situation with his own wife.
This reversal of perspective is the consequence of the loss of Distance. But there is no obvious opposite phenomenon in his scheme. To do this, it is suggested, he will have to adopt an antagonistic attitude to the part he is playing, that is, one of critical distance. But without making anything of his crucial point, Brecht adds in parenthesis: In the final version, Brecht adopts a more circumspect standpoint: That is to say, Brecht is really only concerned with the political implications of distancing in a certain kind of theater.
He argues that there is no necessary connection between the two, although Brecht seems to assume that the one is a prerequisite of the other. Unter sozialem Gestus ist der mimische und gestische Ausdruck der gesellschaftlichen Beziehungen zu verstehen, in denen die Menschen einer bestimmten Epoche zueinander stehen. Note the seemingly non-interventionist or apolitical, cognitive nature of the following definitions: Das 37 See Schaefer , Grimm , Knopf , 15—60, and a, —, Fankhauser , 23—29, and Fischer , — Der Messingkauf, it could be argued, merely makes explicit what exile contexts at times obliged Brecht to treat with discretion.
Brecht hat die Verfremdung nicht erfunden. Usually the debate is conducted in a more circumscribed arena and revolves around certain very specific debts: Likewise, the fact that a writer sporadically used a term prior to the time when he could have encountered it when used by a particular putative influence need not necessarily invalidate the possibility of his interest in the phenomenon being intensified by an idea that was received later.
The major exception has been at the level of genre: After all, Brecht had written the script, and thus there was no real need to subject details to microscopic analysis to get across his general theoretical position. Der Schauspieler nun hat diesen Abstand zu den Ereignissen und Verhaltungsweisen, den der Historiker nimmt, zu den Ereignissen und Verhaltungsweisen der Jetztzeit zu nehmen. Unseres Erachtens und unserer Absicht nach waren die Praxis des epischen Theaters und sein ganzer Begriff keineswegs undialektisch, noch wird ein dialektisches Theater ohne das epische Element auskommen.
This new, more explicit emphasis on milieu gives a clearer focus to the device, since social and historical milieus demonstrably interact dialectically with the individual. Es steckt viel in ihm, was da entfaltet wurde und entfaltbar ist. The discussion proper gets underway when the actor says: Indem man zeigt, was damals anders war als heute, und den Grund andeutet. Also ist der Zuschauer ein Gesellschaftshistoriker? Although Scandinavian and US exile restricted the range of available outlets, Brecht remained adept at placing flagship pieces in opinion-forming publications.
In the Weimar years it might seem as if Brecht had merely used channels of communication open to any author in a modern, technologically advanced society. Yet he did so shrewdly and often with panache. Whenever his contributions appeared in feuilleton surveys on topics of the moment, it was alongside the great names of the time. While still in Weimar Germany, Brecht was in the thick of things. That would not happen again until his final years in the GDR. Exile, as far as his theoretical writings were concerned, was to some extent a period of consolidation and preparation for better times. The works looked at so far show how deceptive categorization on the basis of conventional genres can be.
It would be difficult to find a satisfactory generic label for such a work. By the s Taylorism or the Taylor System had become a byword for rationalized industrial efficiency in both the Western world and the Soviet Union. See Midgley , —17 on some of the cultural influences of Taylorism. This enables him to transform an apparent eyewitness account into an elaborate, distanciating outline of the cultural and historical context for his own experiments.
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Even in such a seemingly simple instance, Brecht comes across as a master of the art of subverting pre-existing discourse formats. One often finds Brecht over-scripting or in other ways orchestrating things to highlight his own position. In the case of the Cologne radio talk with Sternberg and Ihering, we saw the former having his lines mapped out for him on the basis of an already-published open letter, but now being assigned the task of presenting it as a thesis to which Brecht constructed a carefully formulated counter-position.
The comment in the GBA notes on such a manipulative procedure merely states: One wonders how the other participants saw things! Even in the s, Brecht had tended to manipulate the other available discourse opportunities in unpredictable ways. Verlangen diese Stoffe eine neue Form des Dramas und des Spiels? Although in the case of some writings the fictiveness is obvious, there are many others where it is not possible to make binding distinctions between authentic material real interviews subsequently transcribed, published answers to actual journalistic questionnaires, and bona fide open letters to specific newspapers and creative variations on the same sub-genres.
Yet even when real exchanges had taken place, they were often planned down to the last detail. One might think that if a genuine dialogue between specific, identified people had occurred on a particular occasion, it would be remarkable to find such extensive drafts for it. No one is named: The equally important need to distinguish between real sent or unsent letters and fictive missives, not to mention the Briefgedicht, or to differentiate between real public addresses and the Anrede poem raises a series of further problems of categorization, especially in the case of putative addressees.
Yet it is possible that the actor who participates in the discussion never existed. The relevant GBA note displays caution: What is revealing here is the ambivalence: Yet despite this token referentiality, the participants come across as invented. The participants are simply referred to as Kalle and Ziffel, names which sound as invented as the Mies and Meck in an earlier draft, Kries and Mies of another fragment from the same period GBA, Early drafts give no names at all, and even in later ones, some speeches are still not yet allocated to either speaker.
Commenting on his method, Brecht cited his models: Brecht, of course, had other models for his use of the fictive letter as a vehicle for bringing theory to life. It seems unlikely that Brecht sent a German letter poem to the American even though Odets was at the time married to the Austrian actress Luise Rainer. Jerome written in English, but published in a German translation: Der unsichtbare Feind des kleinen Kapitalisten: This popular sub-genre of Neue Sachlichkeit poetry had strong connections with the chanson and the cabaret Rollengedicht, genres where the convention was recognized as involving a fiction.
In any case, the nominal addressees shared little or no common language with the author, and in one instance it was a collective. As this suggests, the primary audience or readership was not the ostensible addressee. Instead, the two poems were part of a one-sided dialogue between a playwright and the theater-world at large.
In , Brecht reportedly declared: Admittedly, some of the poems associated with the Messingkauf complex were more private reminiscences or tributes7 than dramaturgically focused pieces. But this was not the only problem. Sometimes genre gives some clue to status. Nor does it appear to have been pinned on some backstage notice board or passed on to Ruth Berlau to communicate its substance in Danish to the addressees in question.
The sole record of any such use comes in a journal entry four years later: The note to this entry reads: The Brecht Archive holds many letters either never sent or in some instances with no indication of an addressee. Brecht may have on occasion thought twice about sending a particularly aggressive missive. On the other hand, the letter format was also one of his favorite methods of setting out embryonic ideas: Some served the function of offering Brecht a safety valve, but beyond any use of the fictive letter as a private way of letting off steam or dealing with theoretical problems of the moment, one finds the more important function of rhetorical vehicle.
The contrast between poetic diction and prose register in such cases signifies an ability to function as Olympian commentator on the immediate situation. A theoretical statement made in a poem is not axiomatically more significant than one in prose. If some individual poems express points with particular clarity, lapidariness, or sophistication, this remains a matter of local accomplishment, not generic privileging. Nevertheless, one striking feature of the dramaturgical poems is their undoubted ability to apply fresh bold images to familiar abstract ideas.
Ich sehe da nach vorn kommen Erdbeben. Die Erdbeben haben Geld in der Brusttasche. Some of the poems we shall be considering have been recognized as dramaturgical milestones: But most remain neglected. Few appeared in print during his lifetime, and their publishing fortunes since have been chequered. A full inventory of the works in question can be found in Willett and Manheim —5 with each title annotated to indicate which had first appeared in Theaterarbeit and Versuche 14 and which not.
To this I would merely add that some of the poems in d are also of considerable dramaturgical significance. These are offered both in an appendix to the Messingkauf complex GBA, According to the editorial principles set out in the notes to both volumes, the seven Versuche poems have the distinction of being authorized as Messingkauf poems by Brecht himself.
Poems that only appeared under that title in Theaterarbeit are accorded a different status, since strictly speaking, even if Brecht must have had a hand in this collective enterprise, the sole editors named on the title page are the Berliner Ensemble and Helene Weigel. Apart from such demarcation problems, one is also left with the paradox that none of the seven poems in the small Versuche 14 and GBA corpus is mentioned anywhere in the Messingkauf plans.
As GBA puts it: The work exists in various versions incorporating numerous revisions, which suggests its importance for Brecht. Yet there is one crucial difference. In the case of the Stanislavsky, Brecht was merely analysing the assumptions of his adversaries, but with little hope of converting them to his cause. This combination of didactic and conciliatory stance may explain why the poem was included in the Malik Gesammelte Werke, for Brecht could expect to encounter similar disputes with ideological allies in other countries during his continuing years of exile.
The poem speaks to the ordinary members of the Theatre Union in the comradely familiar plural form of address: In one sense, the failure to produce nuances that could be easily reflected in English does not matter; for what we have is a German poem, as far as we know not translated into English at the time, which, while seeming to speak to a very circumscribed American audience, reaches out generally to the kind of theater people the playwright wants to help to understand the methods and intentions behind Die Mutter.
The fact that we hear as much about the earlier Berlin production as about the New York fiasco takes the material out of and beyond the immediate context, as does our awareness that we, its readers, are not members of the Theatre Union. On the relationship between the two adaptations, see Thomas and Kepka — Rather, it is because of her representative role as an oppressed figure who grows in political stature to become capable of exemplary revolutionary behavior. Wer baute das siebentorige Theben? Wohin gingen an dem Abend, wo die chinesische Mauer fertig war Die Mauerer?
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As the political significance of her learning to read suggests, this is the dialectical point at which Wlassowa, by intervening, becomes in a new sense exemplary and is no longer merely representative in her victimhood. The pivotal contrast comes in part 4, where the Theatre Union is charged with having exploited her image as literal rather than politically symbolic mother for crude emotional effect: It would take Brecht some time to adequately theorize the difference between permissible and impermissible feelings in Epic Theater.
So wie sie nicht darauf ausgeht, ihren Helden der Welt als seinem unentrinnbaren Schicksal auszuliefern, liegt es auch nicht in ihrem Sinn, den Zuschauer einem suggestiven Theatererlebnis auszuliefern. Body language and verbal behavior will also have to be scrutinized. The remainder of part 3 establishes the framework supplied by Epic Theater within which such an appraisal can take place: Placed here, the term implies that whatever criticisms are being voiced are intended in a spirit of comradely constructiveness.
Criticism and encouragement thus form two parts of the same section, the one would not have been offered without the counterbalancing optimism that his readers could be convinced of the necessity of epic production techniques. Ich las Eure Bearbeitung. Kohlgeruch Kommt vom Herd. The poem could even be read as an attempt to accustom the reader to the laconic register and simplicity of style with which Paul Peters and the actors had experienced such difficulty.
The juxtaposition of a prudently revised version and a poem on how and how not to stage a work of Epic Theater was a shrewd move. As long as Brecht was dependent on the production vagaries of his exile predicament and had to take account of the hold of the Stanislavskians in America, a didactic poem combining elements reminding its readers of an exemplary production with the cautionary account of a stylistic betrayal was an appropriately realistic response. And it also accounts for why the poem ends, not on a recriminatory note, but with a rallying call: Ist es schwer zu machen?
In other words, the challenge of confronting the aesthetically new Epic Theater also has political implications, an idea taken up in the image of the suspicious person who has always been deceived and exploited and for whom life is an experiment — something that politically radical theater should also be. That this may not always in practice be the case is allowed for by a strategically placed conditional: There is no such double ratification in the prose version of the idea that Epic Theater must lead from the front.
These notes, published in vol. Gasudarstvennoe izdatelstvo chudozhestvennoi literatury, , The desire to deemphasize earlier polemics and recriminations explains why initially only the first two sections of the poem are used in Theaterarbeit, for they allow Brecht to focus on the main features of the original play. Only at the bottom of the page does one find, in a minuscule typeface and tucked away in parenthesis, an indication of the original context: A further and possibly not unrelated reason for only including a portion of the poem in the part of Theaterarbeit devoted to specific productions was that it helped emphasize the continuities between the and the Berliner Ensemble production.
The stress on these features in may have been intended to align the play with the some of the formal requirements of a work of Socialist Realism. He even adds that Gorky had read and authorized the adaptation. At the same time it piously insinuates that any such antagonistic misunderstandings are out of place in the new GDR.
Two well-chosen photographs of the New York stage sets are intended to corroborate this cosmetic version of what had actually happened in A major disappointment now reads like a signal victory for Epic Theater. To make its mark effectively in the new GDR climate, the poem had to be cut up, redistributed and refunctionalized. But this seems unlikely. Die Theatralisierung der Politik durch den Faschismus habe ich schon ein wenig bearbeitet. Grundmodell einer Szene des epischen Theaters Er zeigt, wie Der Unfall vor sich ging.
Hence, according to Voges: Reality, the poem must show, is out there among ordinary people, not in the citadels of high culture, a fact theater forgets at its peril. Ihr aber sagt nicht: The images of actors as glorified parrots or monkeys denigrate. The theater has been transformed into a temple to Unreason, and it needs to be rescued by people coming in off the street. The sins of the Stanislavskians are evoked mainly by means of various references to what the man in the street does not do: Immer Bleibt er der Zeigende, selbst nicht Verwickelte.
The theater of everyday life is not only held up as a model for serious political theater to emulate, but also makes certain contemporary practices appear doubly laughable. Whereas much contemporary theater, with its arcane rituals and its obsession with transforming character, actor, and audience into a symbiotic entity, is a place of mystification, everything happening in the street is open to inspection and confirms commonsense.
Sie sind meist komischer Natur. In each case, surface reality will not be understood if it is only slavishly imitated. Allegedly, that is what happens in street scenes, even if there the end result often remains purely an act of exposure.
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Once more, radical politicization is required. Die Demonstration wird z. Das ist das Feld, auf dem der Demonstrant seine Charaktere aufbaut. In diesem Falle tritt das Soziale besser in Erscheinung. Aber damit wir uns verstehen: It has much to say about the importance of the non-Stanislavskian systems of preparation required of the epic actor. In this respect, it needs to precede both the vital processes of familiarizing oneself with the script and the collective rehearsal stage. Who else conducted so much of their business in the street in the s? By means of a series of rhetorical antitheses temple vs.
Brecht takes issue with specific aspects of their staging of Die Gewehre der Frau Carrar: But the same situation did not obtain in the R. It is therefore unlikely that he would have addressed them directly in a German poem. We, his readers, are in turn assigned the part of collective addressees. The rationale behind such a strategy is that all actors, not just the R. An alternative reading of this shift of perspective would be to assume the poem is made up of a montage of independent perspectives and voices.
The spectrum of possibilities is hinted at during the course of the poem by three contrasting phrases: Ich schlage euch vor: What follows is an orchestration similar to that in some of the radio discussions. Yet before the more magisterial voice establishes and positions itself intertextually, there are moments of apparent indecision.
Later, the speaking voice slips back into uncertainty: Some may already be aware of the advantages of Epic Theater, others will remain unreconstructed Stanislavskians, and some still hover undecided. Such a lack of homogeneity is emphasized by the dispute that has broken out among the working-class members of the audience. Now the real conflict is not about two diametrically opposed conceptions of effective theater, but between two ideologies.
Affirmative theater is rejected by those who know they are masters of their own fate and demand to see this fact reflected in a new form of drama. It is the people in the cheaper seats who are shown to bring the good news to the actors onstage: Er ist machtlos gegen das Schicksal. Either Brecht was so pleased with the formulation that he simply recycled it on a number of subsequent occasions or, more likely, he is implying that the R. The idea of Man being master of his own fate has given way to a dual defamiliarizing contrast: The stanza that conjures up the image of the fruit-bearing trees themselves becoming gardeners ends with the assurance that actors who are also workers are well on their way to such an act of self-transcendence.
Rather, they are being invited to recall phenomena that they may have frequently witnessed in the past and to consider their implications for a political theater of distance. We are told, for example, that the observer should be able to differentiate between the behavior of various people as they pay their taxes, even if everybody pays them reluctantly, and see the difference between the person paying taxes and the tax collector, despite the fact that both are victims of the selfsame system. Observation, as these examples suggest, is conceived of as something more than a meticulous noting of large numbers of individual details; it is the ability to decode phenomena from an activist, class-conscious perspective.
If Brecht was ostensibly still addressing the R. As the notes to the poem put it: In this respect, one can appreciate why he wanted it to appear near the beginning of the contemplated sequence, almost as a prologue. Its highly specific historical situating meant that it could serve as an overture to other, seemingly narrower theater poems. Literally, of course, like so many buildings in Germany immediately after the defeat of the Nazi regime, the few remaining theaters were, if not destroyed, badly in need of rebuilding and renovation.
When it comes to seeing the world through red-tinted spectacles, this introduction only meets its match in the first scene of Der kaukasische Kreidekreis, the one set in the Soviet Union. Indeed, the lines also read like a calculated counterpiece to the image of the hypnotized Weimar Republic audiences lampooned at the end of Die Dreigroschenoper, people content to settle for contrived operatic endings and untroubled that these seldom occur in real life.
The illusions of which theater has to be purged are both those of the theater of empathy and those of the recent fascist past. Hardly what Stanislavsky meant by Emotion Memory! Because of this sense, not only of immediacy, but of uniqueness, audiences are lulled into feeling at liberty to escape their real identities by pretending that what they are witnessing is a slice of reality unfolding.
To put down a 28 marker to the effect that empathy is based on a false premise of this kind was a bold move on the part of someone preparing the ground for a return to what had now become the Soviet Zone of Occupation. The reason suggested for such a misunderstanding is a dangerous one to point to in the East Germany of the time: Und es sind auch Beispiele von Kunst. Few readers are likely to react to them with the words Andreas uses in scene 1 of Leben des Galilei: Nor can it be fortuituous that it is in the very last line of the poem where we hear that these are also examples of art, not just of fruitful criticism in general.
Arguably, the third example is closest to the interventionist agenda of Epic Theater, though what is stressed in all these illustrations is the identity of what might to many seem a mental activity that leads on to positive achievements. After the publication of Theaterarbeit, the flow of dramaturgical poetry slowed to a trickle. Versuche 14 merely republishes earlier poems and no further ones were added to the ever growing Messingkauf complex. What is more, the dramaturgical poems treat such questions in ways that often differ quite substantially from the discussion of them in the theoretical writings in prose.
The Antigone production was not the only activity undertaken at the time with East Berlin in mind. In July Brecht wrote to Max Frisch: His journal entry for 18 August records that he was: Die Schweiz, das war unsere Vorbereitung auf Berlin. Da gab es so viel Angefangenes. Er war davon nicht begeistert, aber er hat eingesehen und das Organon geschrieben.
Ach, das haben Sie angeregt? Immer schleppte er viele Seiten Theorie mit herum und wollte sie ordnen. Hecht offers the most detailed account to date of the relationship between Der Messingkauf and Kleines Organon Hecht , — And how did the one work grow out of the other? Like Brecht himself, Hecht is in part concerned with the genetic aspect of the relationship.
For others, the focus has been on differences of a more general order. Particularly striking, as Willett points out, is the generic dissimilarity: This is not just one further difference, but a crucial contrast. While Brecht had his reasons for wishing to highlight continuities in his work, a new factor has entered the equation: Such a grudging remark may risk underrepresenting just how often Brecht had touched on wider aesthetic questions in his previous writings. Brecht reported to Elisabeth Hauptmann, in a letter of July-August But Bentley planned to come at the task from a different angle.
Brecht played for time: Yet even if this were so and there are competing genetic scenarios2 , the emphasis was still on the need to present himself to American audiences. This is your privilege. The reference is to Fuller Kleines Organon is too unlike Der Messingkauf for a draft of it to have existed in But since no such draft is available for scrutiny, its arguments and methodology must remain as much matters of speculation as the question of whether or not it ever existed.
In this case, there is a modicum of supporting documentation. A series of pieces were written in quick succession, most with consecutively numbered sections, giving the impression that they were conceived as forming part of a larger project. But he had over the years mellowed, 3 The pieces, all in GBA, vol. Und am Verkauf von shocks und Emotionen. In the case of the more Eurocentric Kleines Organon, it would have been difficult to read the reference to a dominant aesthetic as applying to the United States.