Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht was a German playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is known for his contributions to epic theatre and his development of the 'Verfremdungseffekt' or 'alienation effect' to encourage audiences to think critically about the play's message. His notable works include 'The Threepenny Opera' and 'Mother Courage and Her Children'. Brecht's influence extends to modern theatre and literature.

Books

This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Mother Courage and Her Children

    Set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years' War, the book tells the story of a canteen woman, Mother Courage, who pulls her cart with her three children across war-torn Europe. It explores her struggles and survival tactics as she tries to profit from the war while keeping her children safe. The narrative is a profound critique of war and its consequences, highlighting the human cost of conflict and the often futile search for prosperity and security in a chaotic world.

  2. 2. The Good Person of Szechwan

    "The Good Person of Szechwan" is a parable play that explores the difficulty of maintaining one's morals and goodness in a corrupt and exploitative world. The story revolves around a kind-hearted prostitute who struggles to be a good person under the harsh realities of life in Szechwan. When three gods visit the city in search of a good person, they find only her willing to help them. However, to survive, she must adopt a ruthless alter ego, leading to a complex exploration of morality, identity, and societal pressures.

  3. 3. Galileo

    This play delves into the life of the renowned Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei, who challenged the church's belief in a geocentric universe. It explores his struggles against the Catholic Church, his recantation, and the consequences of his actions on his life and those around him. The narrative also examines the conflict between science and religion, the ethics of scientific discovery, and the price of truth.

  4. 4. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

    "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" is a satirical play that uses the rise of a fictional 1930s Chicago mobster, Arturo Ui, to parallel the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. The narrative is a critique of those who allowed Hitler to come to power, emphasizing that his rise was indeed resistible. The play explores themes of power, corruption, manipulation, and the dangers of complacency, showcasing the destructive potential of unchecked ambition and the failure of society to prevent the ascent of dangerous individuals.

  5. 5. Poems, 1913 1956

    This collection is an anthology of lyrical works by a renowned 20th-century playwright and poet, spanning over four decades of his literary career. The book showcases a diverse range of poems that reflect the author's sharp wit, political engagement, and innovative use of language. Through his poetry, the author explores themes of war, injustice, and social change, often employing a critical and satirical tone. His work is characterized by its accessibility and its ability to speak to the common person, all while challenging the status quo and encouraging readers to question the world around them.

  6. 6. The Threepenny Opera

    Set in Victorian London, the narrative revolves around a cunning antihero who leads a group of beggars and is involved in various criminal activities. He marries the daughter of the king of the beggars, only to be betrayed by his new wife and a former lover, which leads to his arrest. As he faces execution, a deus ex machina twist saves him at the last moment, allowing him to return to his life of crime. The work is a biting satire of capitalist society, showcasing the corruption and moral ambiguity that pervade all levels of society, from the lowly beggar to the esteemed official, all underscored by memorable music that adds a layer of irony to the darkly comedic plot.

  7. 7. The Good Woman Of Setzuan

    In this play, three gods descend to Earth in search of a single good person, and they find Shen Te, a kind-hearted but impoverished prostitute in the Chinese province of Szechwan. To reward her goodness, they give her money, which she uses to buy a tobacco shop. However, her generosity leads to her being exploited by everyone around her. To protect herself and her assets, Shen Te adopts the male alter ego of Shui Ta, who is pragmatic and shrewd. The dual identity allows her to navigate the complexities of societal expectations and moral dilemmas, ultimately questioning whether it is possible to be good in a world that rewards selfishness and greed. The play explores themes of economic inequality, morality, and the struggle to maintain goodness in the face of harsh realities.

  8. 8. The Caucasian Chalk Circle

    The play is a parable set in the Soviet Union that explores themes of justice, class struggle, and morality through the story of Grusha, a servant girl who risks her life to protect an abandoned child of noble birth during a time of revolution. As the child grows, a dispute over his custody arises, leading to a trial presided over by a wily, unconventional judge named Azdak. The trial's resolution hinges on the titular chalk circle test, which ultimately reveals the true nature of parental love and the importance of putting the needs of the child first. The narrative is a commentary on the social and political issues of the time, advocating for a society that prioritizes the welfare of its most vulnerable members.

  9. 9. Mr Puntila And His Man Matti

    The play centers around the dual nature of the wealthy landowner, Mr. Puntila, who oscillates between a cruel and exploitative capitalist when sober and a generous, friendly man when drunk. His complex relationship with his shrewd chauffeur, Matti, serves as a vehicle to explore themes of class struggle, the contradictions within human nature, and the social dynamics of power. Throughout the narrative, Puntila's erratic behavior affects his daughter's marriage prospects and highlights the absurdities and injustices of the class system, while Matti's practical wisdom and cunning expose the farcical elements of his employer's actions, ultimately leading to a satirical examination of the societal norms of the time.