Brecht and Tragedy: Radicalism, Traditionalism, Eristics

Cambridge University Press

This wide-ranging, detailed and engaging study of Brecht's complex relationship with Greek tragedy and tragic tradition argues that this is fundamental for understanding his radicalism. Featuring an extensive discussion of The Antigone of Sophocles (1948) and further related works (the Antigone model book and the Small Organon for the Theatre), this monograph includes the first-ever publication of the complete set of colour photographs taken by Ruth Berlau. This is complemented by comparatist explorations of many of Brecht's own plays as his experiments with tragedy conceptualized as the 'big form'. The significance for Brecht of the Greek tragic tradition is positioned in relation to other formative influences on his work (Asian theatre, Naturalism, comedy, Schiller and Shakespeare). Brecht emerges as a theatre artist of enormous range and creativity, who has succeeded in re-shaping and re-energizing tragedy and has carved paths for its continued artistic and political relevance.

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