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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2021
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Book description

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.


‘This is a book that should have been written long ago but it is really only someone like Revermann, with equal grasp of Greek tragedy, tragedy as a diachronic form (rather than a mode), and a deep knowledge of the history of modern European performance traditions, who could write it.’

Fiona Macintosh - Director of The Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD), University of Oxford

‘Martin Revermann’s new book on Brecht deserves a place of honor at the very center of contemporary studies of twentieth-century German drama and more widely of twentieth-century European literature as a whole. It is extraordinary how fundamentally Revermann has been able to enrich and transform our understanding of Brecht, in part by discovering and fruitfully interpreting so much new material. I do not doubt that this book will turn out to be as much a milestone in Brecht studies as Revermann’s work on Greek drama has been in that field.’

Glenn W. Most - Professor of Greek Philology, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa

‘… a valuable, erudite, and inspiring study of Brecht and tragedy.'

Silvija Jestrovic Source: European Association for the study of theatre and performance

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