Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life

Author(s): Stephen Parker


This first English language biography of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) in two decades paints a strikingly new picture of one of the twentieth century's most controversial cultural icons. Drawing on letters, diaries and unpublished material, including Brecht's medical records, Parker offers a rich and enthralling account of Brecht's life and work, viewed through the prism of the artist. Tracing his extraordinary life, from his formative years in Augsburg, through the First World War, his politicisation during the Weimar Republic and his years of exile, up to the Berliner Ensemble's dazzling productions in Paris and London, Parker shows how Brecht achieved his transformative effect upon world theatre and poetry. Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life is a powerful portrait of a great, compulsively contradictory personality, whose artistry left its lasting imprint on modern culture.

2014. First edition. A very good copy only marked by light bumping to the top front corner, light shelf rubbing to the heel of the spine and a previous owners name sticker to the front free endpaper. The d/w is unclipped and near fine with only very minor edge rubbing. Scans available if required.


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Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life is a major literary biography of one of the iconic cultural figures of the twentieth century, whose achievements are viewed alongside Picasso's and Wagner's. Offering a fresh reassessment of the man and the artist, this is the first significant biography of Brecht to present a balanced account of his life.

This is an immensely important new biography of one of the most controversial and inspiring figures of European modernism. Parker has a profound knowledge of the archival record and brings his subject alive with a wealth of fascinating detail, rising above the old ideologically blinkered debates. Brecht emerges as a flawed and troubled man, but equally as a literary artist and cultural commentator of extraordinary breadth, with as much to say to us global citizens of the twenty-first century as he had to his own contemporaries. -- Tom Kuhn, Fellow of St Hugh's College, University of Oxford, UK Parker offers an eminently readable account of a life that not only fascinates on its own terms but illuminates the contradictions of the many worlds Brecht inhabited. -- David Barnett, Reader in Drama, University of Sussex, UK and author of Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance and A History of the Berliner Ensemble Nobody perhaps has gone further than Stephen Parker in trusting the conviction that biographical detail - including somatic detail -- can open up new dimensions of insight into historical moments and the lives through which they exist. The result is a book, written with sympathy and passion, that reveals an unknown, highly complex personality behind the canonized image of the great Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht. breathtaking. -- Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guerard Professor in Literature, Stanford University, USA At last, after twenty years of waiting, a new Brecht biography in English that can draw on post Cold War archival sources. Parker offers a weighty but smoothly written literary portrait - both empathetic and critical - of this major twentieth-century writer and thinker. -- Marc Silberman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Stephen Parker is Henry Simon Professor of German at the University of Manchester and was Leverhulme Research Fellow (2009-12). His publications include Sinn und Form: The Anatomy of a Literary Journal, The Modern Restoration: Re-thinking German Literature 1930-1960 (both co-authored), Peter Huchel: A Literary Life in 20th-Century Germany and contributed to Brecht on Art and Politics.

Acknowledgements Introduction Prelude: Eugen Brecht Goes out to Play Part 1 Lyrical Awakening Part 2 Dramatic Iconoclast Part 3 Marxist Heretic Part 4 Chastened Survivor Part 5 Contentious Master Abbreviations Bibliography Index

General Fields

  • : 9781408155622
  • : Bloomsbury
  • : bloomsbury
  • : 0.454
  • : January 2014
  • : 234mm X 156mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Black and white
  • : 704
  • : 832.912
  • : Hardback
  • : Stephen Parker