Brecht and Company by John Fuegi
Sex, Politics, and the Making of the Modern Drama

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Synopsis

The result of twenty-five years of research on three continents, Brecht and Company is a revolutionary portrait of one of the world's greatest theater artists - and the people upon whom he built his reputation. Bertolt Brecht is regarded by many as the most influential figure in twentieth-century theater; the director Peter Brook has argued that "all theater work today at some point starts with or returns to his achievement." In this first full biography of the Brecht circle, John Fuegi confirms Brecht's rank as a world-class theater director, but also shows why much of the writing can no longer be attributed to Brecht alone. Brecht's first violent, homoerotic plays, though noisily provocative failures at the box office, brought him praise from adventurous critics. In Berlin in the 1920s, Brecht found someone who would change not only his life but world theater: Elisabeth Hauptmann, who wrote over 80 percent of The Threepenny Opera in exchange for time in Brecht's life and in his bed. Yet her name often disappeared from the printed text, as well as from other plays and poems. Disappointed and disaffected, Hauptmann was supplanted by the passionate, tubercular Margarete Steffin, who contributed crucially to such classics as Mother Courage and The Good Woman of Setzuan. With Steffin's death in 1941, Brecht's career as a playwright virtually ended, though other works, begun with her, were finished with the aid of the uninhibited and politically committed Danish director and author Ruth Berlau. Fuegi traces the evolution of Brecht's parasitic relationships and aggressive ambition through close analysis of diaries, letters, and drafts of the literary works, revealing a man who was personallydazzling, a genius at assembling and directing the plays created in his workshop, but ultimately lacking in literary stamina, for which he depended on his lovers. His need for control and fame led him to dominate - and betraynearly everyone who supported and loved him. The story
 

About John Fuegi

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Published August 1, 1994 by Grove Pr. 732 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Brecht and Company

The New York Times

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that "the poor were -- by virtue of their oppression -- 'deserving,' " and that "the collective wealth of the middle and upper classes is necessarily built on the collective deprivation of the poor."

Aug 07 1994 | Read Full Review of Brecht and Company: Sex, Poli...

The New York Times

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'POOR BERT BRECHT' Scholars [ at the Bertolt Brecht Archive in East Germany ] were allowed access only to Brecht materials that supported those views of Brecht the state wished to promote.

Aug 07 1994 | Read Full Review of Brecht and Company: Sex, Poli...

The New York Review of Books

The actor Harald Paulsen becomes Harold Paulsen, Jakob Geis becomes Jacob Geis, Albert Lortzning becomes Albert Lortzning, the character Cridle becomes Criddle, Franz Blei becomes Franz Bleis, Lotta Svörd becomes Lotta Svörd, Ernst von Salamon becomes Ernst von Salamon, the Munich Kammerspiel be...

Jan 12 1995 | Read Full Review of Brecht and Company: Sex, Poli...

The New York Review of Books

Michael Meyer devotes the greater part of a long review to Professor John Fuegi’s Brecht and Company, a 732-page work already published in England under the title The Life and Lies of Bertolt Brecht.

Jan 12 1995 | Read Full Review of Brecht and Company: Sex, Poli...

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