Bertolt Brecht

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the greatest European playwrights of the twentieth century. The aim of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was to make the familiar ‘strange’: with plays such as Mother Courage and The Caucasian Chalk Circle he wanted his audience not to sit back but to engage, observe and discover the contradictions in life, and act on what they learnt. He developed this approach in turbulent times, from Weimar Germany to the rise of the Nazis, to exile in Scandinavia and America and then post-war life in East Berlin, and he has since inspired dramatists around the world.

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  • Laura Bradley No other episodes
    Professor of German and Theatre at the University of Edinburgh
  • David Barnett No other episodes
    Professor of Theatre at the University of York
  • Tom Kuhn No other episodes
    Professor of Twentieth Century German Literature, Emeritus Fellow of St Hugh's College, University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance
    David Barnett (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • A History of the Berliner Ensemble
    David Barnett (Cambridge University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • Brecht and the GDR: Politics, Culture, Posterity
    Laura Bradley and Karen Leeder (eds.) (Camden House, 2015) Google Books →
  • Training the Audience: Brecht and the Art of Spectatorship
    Laura Bradley (The Modern Language Review, 2016)
  • Brecht on Theatre
    Bertolt Brecht (ed. Marc Silberman, Tom Kuhn and Steve Giles) (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • Brecht on Performance
    Bertolt Brecht (ed. Tom Kuhn, Steve Giles and Marc Silberman) (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht
    Bertolt Brecht (trans. Tom Kuhn and David Constantine) (Norton Liveright, 2018) Google Books →
  • Bertolt Brecht in Context
    Stephen Brockmann (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2021) Google Books →
  • Bertolt Brecht
    Meg Mumford (Routledge, 2009) Google Books →
  • Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life
    Stephen Parker (Bloomsbury, 2014) Google Books →
  • Brecht's Poetry of Political Exile
    Ronald Speirs (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Brecht: A Practical Handbook
    David Zoob (Nick Hern Books, 2018) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Bertolt Brecht, 1898 to 1956, was one of the greatest European playwrights of the 20th century.