Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life
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Published By Bloomsbury Academic
ISBN : 9781474240000
Format : Paperback
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Mentioned. - "GeorgeHunka.com""" ..".Stephen Parker's masterly biography of Brecht, the first in twenty years. It is an astonishing tour de force based on impressive scholarship. For once the subtitle, 'A Literary Life', is apposite, for, as the complex strands of Brecht's life are revealed, we never forget that he is above all a writer. He speaks to us not only through letters and pronouncements but also through his poetry, abundantly quoted by Parker throughout the book." - Donald Sassoon, "Literary Review""Stephen Parker powerfully evokes Brecht's life within a set of historical circumstances, without sacrificing the complexity of one to the other, in 'Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life'... Parker strikes a delicate balance between the historical events and the more temperamental qualities of Brecht's that informed his writing, be it his lifelong inability to temper his sexual appetite or manage his frail body. In particular, Parker emphasizes the latter in the way that Brecht's writings, even at his most Leninist moments, revolve around a feeling of bodily precarity and appetite-driven excess. Parker's success is the caution and deliberateness with which he traces Brecht's multifaceted, contradictory personality and artistic corpus.... succeeds remarkably in animating the world of political instability and terror that Brecht lived through, where the failure of the Left to coalesce enabled the rise of Fascism." - Cosmo Pappas, " The Michigan Daily"" An ambitious new biography, "Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life," arrives twenty years after the last full-length biography was published in English. Stephen Parker, the Simon Chair of German Studies at the University of Manchester, has sifted through Brecht's prodigious writings--plays, poems, diaries, journalism, lectures, letters, and notes--as well as the work of his contemporaries, the colleagues and the adversaries. The references to secondary sources--Brecht is among the most-written about authors in 20th-century literature--are also a strength of this book.... In the chapters concerning Brecht's childhood," [Bertolt Brecht: ] A Literary Life" is articulate and authoritative." - "The Rumpus.".". the research and presentation of Bertolt Brecht's life is thorough and meticulous." - "Looking for a Good Book""" "Few biographies are as instructive." -Anthony Daniels, "The New Criterion"

Mentioned. - "GeorgeHunka.com"

..".Stephen Parker's masterly biography of Brecht, the first in twenty years. It is an astonishing tour de force based on impressive scholarship. For once the subtitle, 'A Literary Life', is apposite, for, as the complex strands of Brecht's life are revealed, we never forget that he is above all a writer. He speaks to us not only through letters and pronouncements but also through his poetry, abundantly quoted by Parker throughout the book." - Donald Sassoon, "Literary Review"

..". the research and presentation of Bertolt Brecht's life is thorough and meticulous." - "Looking for a Good Book" "" "Few biographies are as instructive." -Anthony Daniels, "The New Criterion"

This is an immensely important new biography of one of the most controversial and inspiring figures of European modernism. Parker has a profound knowledge of the archival record and brings his subject alive with a wealth of fascinating detail, rising above the old ideologically blinkered debates. Brecht emerges as a flawed and troubled man, but equally as a literary artist and cultural commentator of extraordinary breadth, with as much to say to us global citizens of the twenty-first century as he had to his own contemporaries.

Parker offers an eminently readable account of a life that not only fascinates on its own terms but illuminates the contradictions of the many worlds Brecht inhabited.

At last, after twenty years of waiting, a new Brecht biography in English that can draw on post Cold War archival sources. Parker offers a weighty but smoothly written literary portrait - both empathetic and critical - of this major twentieth-century writer and thinker.

" Stephen Parker's masterly biography of Brecht, the first in twenty years. It is an astonishing tour de force based on impressive scholarship. For once the subtitle, 'A Literary Life', is apposite, for, as the complex strands of Brecht's life are revealed, we never forget that he is above all a writer. He speaks to us not only through letters and pronouncements but also through his poetry, abundantly quoted by Parker throughout the book." - Donald Sassoon, "Literary Review""

"Stephen Parker powerfully evokes Brecht's life within a set of historical circumstances, without sacrificing the complexity of one to the other, in 'Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life' Parker strikes a delicate balance between the historical events and the more temperamental qualities of Brecht's that informed his writing, be it his lifelong inability to temper his sexual appetite or manage his frail body. In particular, Parker emphasizes the latter in the way that Brecht's writings, even at his most Leninist moments, revolve around a feeling of bodily precarity and appetite-driven excess. Parker's success is the caution and deliberateness with which he traces Brecht's multifaceted, contradictory personality and artistic corpus . succeeds remarkably in animating the world of political instability and terror that Brecht lived through, where the failure of the Left to coalesce enabled the rise of Fascism." - Cosmo Pappas, " The Michigan Daily""

" the research and presentation of Bertolt Brecht's life is thorough and meticulous." - "Looking for a Good Book""" "Few biographies are as instructive." -Anthony Daniels, "The New Criterion""

Nobody perhaps has gone further than Stephen Parker in trusting the conviction that biographical detail - including somatic detail -- can open up new dimensions of insight into historical moments and the lives through which they exist. The result is a book, written with sympathy and passion, that reveals an unknown, highly complex personality behind the canonized image of the great Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht breathtaking."
 

"A magisterial biography of Brecht ... Parker's choice to present new material very much through the prism of the artist is compelling ... Fascinating reading." --"The Independent"

 

"We should be grateful to [Parker] for reminding us how important, love him or loathe him, Brecht was - and still is." --"The Sunday Times"

 

"Stephen Parker's "Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life "is that rare thing, not only the biography of a genius, but itself a biography of genius. Parker, a Professor of German at Manchester, has written a foot perfect, detailed, fascinating and really inward book on a man who was plausibly described as "one of the most complicated human beings of the past fifty years." It may well be the best literary biography I have read, the intricate demands of the subject met and unfussily answered by the insightful calm and nuanced decisiveness of the biographer . . . His is indeed one of the great literary lives, and Parker's book is every bit as good as it needs to be" --"The Times Literary Supplement"

 

"Stephen Parker has written an extraordinary work about a man he also repeatedly finds extraordinary, giving his book unusual liveliness and spontaneity [T]his is by far the fullest of any English-language source, and it is the fullest biography in any language, making good use of the magnificent chronology of Brecht's life of over 1,300 pages by Werner Hecht." --"Camden New Journal"

 

"Stephen Parker's superb biography of a great iconoclastic writer is impressively sourced, rich in detail, well-paced, highly readable yet serious." --"London Review of Books"

 

"Stephen Parker powerfully evokes Brecht's life within a set of historical circumstances, without sacrificing the complexity of one to the other, in 'Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life' Parker strikes a delicate balance between the historical events and the more temperamental qualities of Brecht's that informed his writing, be it his lifelong inability to temper his sexual appetite or manage his frail body. In particular, Parker emphasizes the latter in the way that Brecht's writings, even at his most Leninist moments, revolve around a feeling of bodily precarity and appetite-driven excess. Parker's success is the caution and deliberateness with which he traces Brecht's multifaceted, contradictory personality and artistic corpus . succeeds remarkably in animating the world of political instability and terror that Brecht lived through, where the failure of the Left to coalesce enabled the rise of Fascism." --"The Michigan Daily"

 

"Parker's "Brecht "is a tangle of contradictions, a man led but sometimes disorientated by ideology, art and love. This superb biography may not endear us to him but it certainly brings us closer." --"The Catholic Tablet"

 

"[A] valuable source of information and insight." --"Morning Star"

 

"This immense dive into the life and work of the 20th-century German playwright and poet offers letters, diaries, and unpublished material to shed more light on his early life, all the way through to his 'transformative impact on world theater and poetry, ' according to the book's dust jacket. Written by Stephen Parker, the book is out now. Perfect beach reading!" --"Backstage.com"

 

"The research and presentation of Bertolt Brecht's life is thorough and meticulous ... I learned a great deal. From his personal and professional partnerships, to his politics, to his theatrical works." --"www.lookingforagoodbook.wordpress.com"

 

"In this magisterial combination of minute detail and complete command of the social, political, and aesthetic landscape that Brecht surveyed?from provincial Augsburg to cloudless Santa Monica, and above all to the 'cold Chicago' of the asphalt city of Weimar Berlin, and, later, East Berlin?the contradictions and complexities of the writer are foregrounded in a way that makes any simple gloss on his character unthinkable What Parker has brought into focus is the man himself and his network of associates, and if a new appreciation for what it meant to be Brecht, warts and all, emerges, so too does a disruption of the familiar biographical coordinates along the way Parker's biography eschews conversion narratives in favor of presenting a figure whose ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances was less a liability than a recipe for literary, social, and political vitality." --"Bookforum"

 

"[A] masterly biography of Brecht [A]n astonishing tour de force based on impressive scholarship. For once the subtitle, 'A Literary Life', is apposite, for, as the complex strands of Brecht's life are revealed, we never forget that he is above all a writer." --"Literary Review"

 

"Enter Steven Parker's biography of Brecht, 689 pages of carefully researched and foot-noted conjecture about this paradoxical, irritating, overbearing, brilliant Marxist whose love life would shame a Casanova, and whose intellectual praxis suggests that after Shakespeare he is one of the greatest theatrical thinkers and playwrights." --"Logos"

 

"Parker's achievement lies perhaps not so much in the discovery of new archival material-although there are exceptions here, such as in the section on Brecht's final illness-as in the skill with which he identifies and marshals an extraordinary wealth of detail spread across a wide range of published primary and secondary sources, from Brecht's works, his collaborators' memoirs and collections of archival documents, through to academic studies." --"Modern Language Review"

 

"British scholar Stephen Parker's new biography replaces the monster of "Brecht & Co." with a recognizable human Whatever percentage of those plays he wrote, Parker reminds us that it was Brecht whose ideas shaped their creation, Brecht who schemed and fought for their productions, Brecht who galvanized modern theater with a radically new performance style. He was deeply flawed man and an enormously important cultural figure. He fully merits the nuanced portrait he receives in "Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life."" --"Washington Post"

 

"Brecht expert Stephen Parker has not only taken up [the task of writing a biography of Brecht], but has passed it with flying colours His style is effervescent, but not gushing. Unsensational. Respectful without being reverential Two beautiful plate sections, a bibliography and notes, as well as an extensive index of so much more than just names (thank you!) supplement the volume. Stephen Parker has produced a standard international work." --"Dreigroschenheft (Bloomsbury translation)"

 

"A remarkable feat of concentration and judicious selection, given the overwhelming accumulated material, this story of a literary life is an astonishing achievement . . . Parker's biography contains many unforgettable descriptions from all stages of Brecht's unusual life, from his childhood dependency and lifelong fear of heart failure and emotional agitation, which governed so much of his psyche and determined his tastes. [A] magisterial biography" --"Dublin Review of Books"

 

"Few biographies are as instructive." --"The New Criterion""
 

 

A magisterial biography of Brecht ... Parker's choice to present new material very much through the prism of the artist is compelling ... Fascinating reading. "The Independent"

 

We should be grateful to [Parker] for reminding us how important, love him or loathe him, Brecht was and still is. "The Sunday Times"

 

Stephen Parker's "Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life "is that rare thing, not only the biography of a genius, but itself a biography of genius. Parker, a Professor of German at Manchester, has written a foot perfect, detailed, fascinating and really inward book on a man who was plausibly described as one of the most complicated human beings of the past fifty years . It may well be the best literary biography I have read, the intricate demands of the subject met and unfussily answered by the insightful calm and nuanced decisiveness of the biographer . . . His is indeed one of the great literary lives, and Parker's book is every bit as good as it needs to be "The Times Literary Supplement"

 

Stephen Parker has written an extraordinary work about a man he also repeatedly finds extraordinary, giving his book unusual liveliness and spontaneity [T]his is by far the fullest of any English-language source, and it is the fullest biography in any language, making good use of the magnificent chronology of Brecht's life of over 1,300 pages by Werner Hecht. "Camden New Journal"

 

Stephen Parker's superb biography of a great iconoclastic writer is impressively sourced, rich in detail, well-paced, highly readable yet serious. "London Review of Books"

 

Stephen Parker powerfully evokes Brecht's life within a set of historical circumstances, without sacrificing the complexity of one to the other, in 'Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life' Parker strikes a delicate balance between the historical events and the more temperamental qualities of Brecht's that informed his writing, be it his lifelong inability to temper his sexual appetite or manage his frail body. In particular, Parker emphasizes the latter in the way that Brecht's writings, even at his most Leninist moments, revolve around a feeling of bodily precarity and appetite-driven excess. Parker's success is the caution and deliberateness with which he traces Brecht's multifaceted, contradictory personality and artistic corpus . succeeds remarkably in animating the world of political instability and terror that Brecht lived through, where the failure of the Left to coalesce enabled the rise of Fascism. "The Michigan Daily"

 

Parker's "Brecht "is a tangle of contradictions, a man led but sometimes disorientated by ideology, art and love. This superb biography may not endear us to him but it certainly brings us closer. "The Catholic Tablet"

 

[A] valuable source of information and insight. "Morning Star"

 

This immense dive into the life and work of the 20th-century German playwright and poet offers letters, diaries, and unpublished material to shed more light on his early life, all the way through to his 'transformative impact on world theater and poetry, ' according to the book's dust jacket. Written by Stephen Parker, the book is out now. Perfect beach reading! "Backstage.com"

 

The research and presentation of Bertolt Brecht's life is thorough and meticulous ... I learned a great deal. From his personal and professional partnerships, to his politics, to his theatrical works. "www.lookingforagoodbook.wordpress.com"

 

In this magisterial combination of minute detail and complete command of the social, political, and aesthetic landscape that Brecht surveyed?from provincial Augsburg to cloudless Santa Monica, and above all to the 'cold Chicago' of the asphalt city of Weimar Berlin, and, later, East Berlin?the contradictions and complexities of the writer are foregrounded in a way that makes any simple gloss on his character unthinkable What Parker has brought into focus is the man himself and his network of associates, and if a new appreciation for what it meant to be Brecht, warts and all, emerges, so too does a disruption of the familiar biographical coordinates along the way Parker's biography eschews conversion narratives in favor of presenting a figure whose ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances was less a liability than a recipe for literary, social, and political vitality. "Bookforum"

 

[A] masterly biography of Brecht [A]n astonishing tour de force based on impressive scholarship. For once the subtitle, 'A Literary Life', is apposite, for, as the complex strands of Brecht's life are revealed, we never forget that he is above all a writer. "Literary Review"

 

Enter Steven Parker's biography of Brecht, 689 pages of carefully researched and foot-noted conjecture about this paradoxical, irritating, overbearing, brilliant Marxist whose love life would shame a Casanova, and whose intellectual praxis suggests that after Shakespeare he is one of the greatest theatrical thinkers and playwrights. "Logos"

 

Parker's achievement lies perhaps not so much in the discovery of new archival material-although there are exceptions here, such as in the section on Brecht's final illness-as in the skill with which he identifies and marshals an extraordinary wealth of detail spread across a wide range of published primary and secondary sources, from Brecht's works, his collaborators' memoirs and collections of archival documents, through to academic studies. "Modern Language Review"

 

British scholar Stephen Parker's new biography replaces the monster of "Brecht & Co." with a recognizable human Whatever percentage of those plays he wrote, Parker reminds us that it was Brecht whose ideas shaped their creation, Brecht who schemed and fought for their productions, Brecht who galvanized modern theater with a radically new performance style. He was deeply flawed man and an enormously important cultural figure. He fully merits the nuanced portrait he receives in "Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life." "Washington Post"

 

Brecht expert Stephen Parker has not only taken up [the task of writing a biography of Brecht], but has passed it with flying colours His style is effervescent, but not gushing. Unsensational. Respectful without being reverential Two beautiful plate sections, a bibliography and notes, as well as an extensive index of so much more than just names (thank you!) supplement the volume. Stephen Parker has produced a standard international work. "Dreigroschenheft (Bloomsbury translation)"

 

A remarkable feat of concentration and judicious selection, given the overwhelming accumulated material, this story of a literary life is an astonishing achievement . . . Parker's biography contains many unforgettable descriptions from all stages of Brecht's unusual life, from his childhood dependency and lifelong fear of heart failure and emotional agitation, which governed so much of his psyche and determined his tastes. [A] magisterial biography "Dublin Review of Books"

 

Few biographies are as instructive. "The New Criterion"

 

The book reflects not only an impressive knowledge and understanding of Brecht s life, but also Parker s ability to find biographical moments which, he convincingly argues, fundamentally shaped important ideas in Brecht s thought and work, ranging from aesthetic notions to everyday behaviour... With admirable discernment, Parker reveals such connections not only as merely possible, but as entirely natural; indeed, many of these insights should prove enlightening even to those readers already closely familiar both with Brecht s biographical details and the intricacies of his work. In addition, Parker s unique approach allows him to compellingly argue the importance of various works by Brecht that have generally been neglected the scholarly attention they deserve. Within the new context of Parker s biography, these works receive new meaning and significance. For this, Parker certainly deserves our gratitude... Parker s work should quickly establish its position as an authoritative and essential addition to Brecht scholarship. - "Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature"

 

In "BERTOLT BRECHT: A LITERARY LIFE," Stephen Parker places the playwright in proper perspective. [bringing] to the table new data, including information from previously withheld medical documents. Charles Lupia, "OnStage"

 

In Parker s impressively sourced account, Brecht s ensuing fight for more freedom, organizing of progressive forces, and eventual triumph over party wonks is nothing short of thrilling. - Stacey Connelly, Trinity University, " Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism""

 

Stephen Parker is Henry Simon Professor of German at the University of Manchester and was Leverhulme Research Fellow (2009-12). His publications include Sinn und Form: The Anatomy of a Literary Journal, The Modern Restoration: Re-thinking German Literature 1930-1960 (both co-authored), Peter Huchel: A Literary Life in 20th-Century Germany and he contributed to Brecht on Art and Politics.

 



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