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Understanding Brecht

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Walter Benjamin

Text of Understanding Brecht

Understanding Brecht



Translated by Anna Bostock Introduction by Stanley Mitchell

VERSO london


New York

This edition published by Verso 1998 Verso 1998 First published as Versuche fiber Brecht 1966 Suhrkamp Verlag 1966

All rights reservedThe moral rights of the authors/editors/translators have been asserted


UK: 6 Meard Stree London W1V 3HR USA: 180 Varick Stree New York NY 10014-4606 Verso is the imprint of New Left Books ISBN 1-85984-814-1

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Library of Congress Cataloging-in-PublicationPrinted and bound in Great Britain by Biddies Ltd, Guildford and King's Lynn

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Data A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress

Introduction by Stanley Mitchell vn What is Epic Theatre? [First version] What is Epic Theatre? [Second versionJ Srudies for a Theory of Epic Theatre From the Brecht Commentary 27 33 A Family Drama in the Epic Theatre I I5 23

The Country where it is Forbidden to Mention the Proletariat 37 Commentaries on Poems by Brecht Brecht's Threepenny Novel 75 The Author as Producer Conversations with Brecht Bibliographical Notes Index I23 I22 85 I05 43

Publisher's aclcnowkdgment; We


grateful to Stefan S. Brecht

and Eyre Methuen Ltd for their kind permission to reproduce the poems by Bertolt Brecht discussed in this book. Translator's note: I have consulted the French edition, Essais sur Breclu, translated by Paul Laveau (Franois Maspero, Paris, 19