Brecht, Bertolt


Brecht, Bertolt
(1898–1956)
   German playwright, poet and theorist of theater and literature, Brecht was a committed Marxist who sought to apply Marxist ideas to the theater. His most famous plays include Mother Courage, St. Joan of the Stockyards, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Man is a Man, The Three-Penny Opera and Galileo Galilei. In general he focused on the contradictions and dilemmas of modern capitalist society, its dehumanizing and isolating effects, and the need for revolutionary transformation to create a moral caring and cooperative community beyond capitalism. He fled Germany for the United States in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power, returning to Europe in 1950 to work for the Berlin Ensemble Company in the German Democratic Republic. Commercially unsuccessful, his uncompromising socialist approach to theater (what he called “epic” or “dialectical” theater), nevertheless, has had a profound influence on later theater.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.