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Look Inside Post-Imperial Brecht

Post-Imperial Brecht
Politics and Performance, East and South


Award Winner

Part of Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre

  • Date Published: May 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521036573

£ 42.99

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About the Authors
  • Post-Imperial Brecht challenges prevailing views of Brecht's theatre and politics. Most political theatre critics place Brecht between West and East in the Cold War, and a few have recently explored Brecht's impact as a Northern writer on the global South. Loren Kruger is the first to argue that Brecht's impact as a political dramatist, director and theoretical writer makes full sense only when seen in a post-imperial framework that links the East/West axis between US capitalism and Soviet communism with the North/South axis of postcolonial resistance to imperialism. This framework highlights Brecht's arguments with theorists like Benjamin, Bloch, and Lukacs. It also shows surprising connections between socialist East Germany, where Brecht's 1950s projects impressed the emerging Heiner Müller, and apartheid-era South Africa, where his work appeared on the apartheid as well as anti-apartheid stage.

    • Provides translations of key Brechtian terms and Brecht's critical revision of Adorno
    • An alternative post-imperial orientation of theatre and cultural history to highlight the Eastern and Southern poles of the usual East/West (Cold War), North/South (post-colonial) oppositions
    • Examines Brecht in South Africa and Athol Fugard in Germany
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    • Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Study awarded by the Modern Language Association.

    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the book presents a rich canvas of Brechtian theatre and presents material that is new, in a new way. Both Brecht scholars and scholars interested in political theatre (not only in the GDR and South Africa) will find this volume of great interest and offering a rewarding and complex analysis.' Monatshefte

    '… stimulating … Kruger helps open up fascinating territory with which we should all be better acquainted. … Informative and thought-provoking …' New Theatre Quarterly

    'Kruger excellently explicates the plays she uses as textual representations for these culturally discursive movements. Each chapter is unpacked through the close analysis of multiple dramatic pieces or theoretical publications, and the even balance between the text and its contexts is maintained throughout.' Medienwissenschaft

    'I particularly recommend reading the passages on Müller's plays and theatre productions … The book provides valuable insight into complex socio-cultural realities and the 'real history' of Marxist-orientated critical intellectuals … a highly recommendable contribution …' African Theatre

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521036573
    • length: 416 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.628kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of abbreviations
    1. The political history of theatre and theory: Brecht and his contemporaries
    2. Realism, socialism and modernism in the production play
    3. Broadcasting (a)socialism: Brecht, Müller and Radio Fatzer
    4. Spectres and speculation: Brechtian futures on the global market
    5. The dis-illusion of apartheid: Brecht and South Africa
    6. 'Realistic Engagement' and the limits of solidarity: Athol Fugard in (East) Germany
    7. Truth, reconciliation and the ends of political performance

  • Author

    Loren Kruger, University of Chicago
    Loren Kruger is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Cornell University, and teaches the history and theory of drama and other cultural forms at the University of Chicago. She is the author of The National Stage (1992) and The Drama of South Africa (1999), and the editor of Lights and Shadows: The Autobiography of Leontine Sagan (1996), and of South African special issues of Theatre Journal and Theatre Research International.


    • Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Study awarded by the Modern Language Association.

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