Great World Writers: Twentieth Century - Vol. 1

By Patrick M. O'Neil | Go to book overview


Bertolt Brecht

BORN: February 10, 1898, Augsburg, Bavaria (Germany)

DIED: August 14, 1956, East Berlin

IDENTIFICATION: German playwright, poet, and short-story writer best known for a group of politically committed dramas and for his work with the composer Kurt Weill.

SIGNIFICANCE: Bertolt Brecht wished to encourage social and political change through his writing. To promote his ideas, he developed what he called an “epic theater.” This type of theater aimed at doing more than entertain. It attempted to arouse theatergoers to act against injustice. In The Threepenny Opera (1929) the main characters—thieves and beggars—ape the middle-class pursuit of material wealth. Greed, Brecht seems to say, has made them the outcasts they are. Brecht used the existing techniques of the stage and created new ones to hammer home his points. His politically pointed plays, together with his theories of drama, influenced the shape and development of the theater.

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Great World Writers: Twentieth Century - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Contributors 7
  • Contents 9
  • Kōbō Abe 11
  • Chinua Achebe 21
  • Isabel Allende 41
  • W.A.Auden 59
  • Mariama Bâ 77
  • Samuel Beckett 87
  • Jorge Luis Borges 105
  • Bertolt Brecht 125
  • Index 143
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