By Stephen Parker
This primary English language biography of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) in twenty years paints a strikingly new photo of 1 of the 20th century's so much arguable cultural icons.
Drawing on letters, diaries and unpublished fabric, together with Brecht's scientific files, Parker deals a wealthy and captivating account of Brecht's lifestyles and paintings, considered throughout the prism of the artist. Tracing his impressive lifestyles, from his youth in Augsburg, in the course of the First international struggle, his politicisation through the Weimar Republic and his years of exile, as much as the Berliner Ensemble's extraordinary productions in Paris and London, Parker exhibits how Brecht completed his transformative impression upon international theatre and poetry.
Bertolt Brecht: A Literary existence is a robust portrait of an excellent, compulsively contradictory character, whose artistry left its lasting imprint on glossy tradition.
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Extra info for Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life
In fact, even as the new history reacts against the allegorizing procedures of classical cultural history, it itself tends to look like pure allegory. As Bruns describes it, allegory is the “conversion of the same into the familiar” and “the reweaving of a text or context” (203, 85). It is “crudely, the squaring of an alien conceptual scheme with one’s own on the charitable assumption that there is a sense (which it is the task of the interpreter to determine) in which they are coherent with one another” (85).
Both texts were based on Vasari. English taste for Italian art gradually became the preserve of a narrow circle of aristocrats and royalty, who were aided by new connoisseurs who helped them make attributions and purchases. Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundel, was perhaps the most famous of these early English connoisseurs and was popularized as the first English collector in Anna Jameson’s 1844 Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters and of the Progress of Painting in Italy (Herrmann 65–68). Arundel’s primary client was Charles I, who was thought to have preferred Italian paintings.
The English followed the 1453 convention for the beginning of the Revival of Learning, began to focus now on Florence, and in general saw Italy as the original home of the Revival of Learning and the Reformation (Hale 47–59). Some debate occurred over whether modernity began after or before the Reformation, however. 2 By the 1730s London was a major art center, and its auction houses increasingly became the conduits for international art trade. Two major art houses still in existence today, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, were established in 1744 and 1762, respectively (although for its first fifty years Sotheby’s focused on selling literary texts).