Brecht and fiction

Schonfield, E. (2021) Brecht and fiction. In: Brockmann, S. (ed.) Bertolt Brecht in Context. Series: Literature in Context. Cambridge University Press, pp. 149-157. ISBN 9781108426466

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This chapter is divided into three sections examining Brecht’s literary influences, his achievements as a writer of fiction, and his legacy. It considers Brecht’s admiration for prose writers including Döblin, Büchner, Grimmelshausen, Wodehouse, Kipling and Hašek. It argues that these readings, alongside Brecht’s interest in Nietzsche and the Vienna Circle, helped to inform his understanding of language as a form of practical intervention. Brecht sees language as a rhetorical toolkit, a “handle” that can be used to change reality. The chapter also argues that Brecht’s fiction is characterized by “blunt thinking”, employed as a means of ideological critique. This is shown by a consideration of Brecht’s two masterworks of short philosophical fiction, Anecdotes of Mr. Keuner and Refugee Conversations, and his three experimental novels, The Threepenny Novel, the Tui-Novel, and The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar. The chapter concludes with some brief observations about Brecht’s enduring significance for German prose fiction from the mid-twentieth century until the present day, also noting his influence on the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schonfield, Dr Ernest
Authors: Schonfield, E.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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