Benjamin, Walter (Introduction by Stanley Mitchell, ed.; Anna Bostock, trans.)
- Understanding Brecht
NLB, London, 1973.
First UK edition: octavo; hardcover, with upper board titles and decoration; 124pp. Moderate wear; boards lightly rubbed; spotting to the text block edges; previous owner's ink inscription and retailer's ink stamp to the flyleaf. Dustwrapper edges lightly worn; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. This volume contains Benjamin's introductions to Brecht's theory or epic theatre and close textual analyses of twelve poems by Brecht (printed in translation here) which exemplify Benjamin's insistence that literary form and content are indivisible. Elsewhere Benjamin discusses the plays The Mother, Terror and Misery of the Third Reich, and The Threepenny Opera, digressing for some general remarks on Marx and satire. Here we also find Benjamin's masterful essay "The Author as Producer" as well as an extract from his diaries that records the intense conversations held in the late 1930s in Denmark (Brecht's place of exile) between the two most important cultural theorists of this century. In these discussions, the two men talked of subjects as diverse as the work of Franz Kafka, the unfolding Soviet Trials, and the problems of literary work on the edge of international war.
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