Why Brecht?

Dmitry Vilensky /// Why Brecht? That’s great art: nothing obvious in it – I laugh when they weep, I weep when they laugh. Bertold Brecht If we try replacing the word “opera” with culture or art in Brecht’s text “OPERA – WITH INNOVATIONS!”, it paradoxically becomes clear that Brecht’s analysis of the situation more than 70 years ago is more than relevant today. Of course, many things have changed, such as the notions of power, class, labor, the means of struggle. But still, anyone who is still capable of considering the necessity of connecting thought and action now hits upon…

Rote Fahne

Geschichten die man versteht, sind nur falsch erzählt. Bertolt Brecht;  Baal Ihr wißt genau, dass wir Ausbeuter sind. Jean-Paul Sartre, (Vorwort zu Die Verdammten dieser Erde; Frantz Fanon)    Es ist die mit Dreck und Tradition belegte Zunge die mir zum Hals heraushängt es ist eine kleine rote Fahne und ein schwarzer Mund voller Dämonen die morbide Symptomatik kotzfarbener Opferkrüge Erbrechen und Fluchen es sind die Gesetze, die mich mit ihrem Geschmack nach Rache verfolgen es sind die Vorgaben, was zu tun ist, die nerven, der moralisierende Dilettantismus — wartet nicht auf mich … ich bin keine Ratte, aber meine…

Bertolt Brecht; War Primer

Bertolt Brecht; War Primer (Full book) The Shipwreck of History: Bertolt Brecht’s “War Primer“ By Roy Scranton   “in the future it will perhaps be difficult to understand the impotence of the peoples in these wars of ours.” — Bertolt Brecht, journal, June 14, 1940 VERSO’S NEW EDITION of Bertolt Brecht’s War Primer is an artifact rich and strange. It comprises 85 photos Brecht collected between 1939 and 1945 while he was a refugee in exile from Nazi Germany, on the move from Denmark to Sweden to Finland and finally, by way of Moscow and the Trans-Siberian Railroad, to Los…

Fredric Jameson; Brecht and Method

Fredric Jameson; Brecht and Method (Full book)   Each Scene for Itself David Edgar The major contribution of the English theatre to last year’s Brecht centenary was Lee Hall’s dazzling version of Mr Puntila and His Man Matti, presented by the Right Size, a touring company led by the comic actors Sean Foley and Hamish McColl. Their prologue goes some way to explaining why the Anglophone response to the Brechtfest was so muted. Announcing that ‘Before we start/this evening’s art/we’d like to take you through a bit of theory,’ Foley and McColl went on to outline the origins of Marxism, the…

Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht — The Story of a Friendship

Erdmut Wizisla Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht — the story of a friendship (Full book) Erdmut Wizisla-Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht_ The Story of a Friendship-Yale University Press (2009) Benjamin and Brecht: The Story of a Friendship By Nick Wright The diverse appropriations of Walter Benjamin – the cultural theorist and critic — of his life and work, inevitably bear the marks of Cold War polarities. Liberal sentiment regards his intimacy with Bertolt Brecht as a Stalinist disfiguring of his sensibility. Gerschom Scholem’s account has Benjamin more rooted in Jewish metaphysics. The not-so-New Left privileges his connections with the Frankfurt…

Walter Benjamin | A Critical Life

Walter Benjamin | A Critical Life Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings (Full book)   Living the Life of Allegory By Ian Balfour Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory — the world? Melville to Hawthorne, Nov. 17, 1851 WHAT A LIFE. And what — though one shouldn’t rush to it — a death. It’s a rare thing when the life of a cultural or literary critic is compelling enough for a full-dress treatment in the guise of sprawling critical biography. No one would balk at the (literally) weighty life of a George…

Kirill Medvedev; My Fascism

“MY FASCISM is an essay about the relation of politics and art in 2004 in Russia, how some artists on the far right had made a powerfully vital, syncretic, and dangerous art. Kirill argues against attachment to an idealized past, the old culture: In Russia right now we’re all frankensteins, pieced together from various dead traditions. The maximum that we have, right now is air.” STEPHANIE YOUNG; IT’S NO GOOD EVERYTHING’S BAD (DOUBLECROSS PRESS)   KIRILL MEDVEDEV; IT’S NO GOOD TRANSLATED BY KEITH GESSEN WITH MARK KROTOV, CORY MERRILL AND BELA SHAYEVICH FITZCARRALDO EDITIONS