Bertolt Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches

June 2010
274 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571133731
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT013000

Bertolt Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches

A German Exile Drama in the Struggle against Fascism

John J. White, Ann White

First thorough treatment in English of one of Brecht's most important antifascist works.
Brecht's Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches (Fear and Misery of the Third Reich) gives a compelling documentary picture of life in Nazi Germany. Close readings of individual scenes are accompanied by a detailed analysis of their role within the play's overall structure. Contrary to the assumption that it is a work of Aristotelian realism, Brecht is shown to employ covert alienation devices that are an integral part of his literary campaign against Third Reich Germany.
This first study in English on the subject of Brecht and fascism offers a corrective to the overconcentration on the play's artistic aspects. It considers Brecht's relationship to the Popular Front's campaign against the National Socialist regime. Attention is paid to the play's genesis, and, in the case of The Private Life of the Master Race, to the partial shift from the Third Reich of 1933-38 to the war period predicted in the original Furcht und Elend cycle.
The play's central theme of resistance, its propaganda value, and its political and artistic reception are addressed within their historical and ideological framework. The result is a challenging assessment of the play's strengths and limitations as a response to German totalitarianism.

John J. White is Emeritus Professor of German and Comparative Literature at King's College London, and Ann White is Senior Lecturer in German at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Table of Contents

The Historical Context of the Furcht und Elend Project
Brecht and Fascism
Fear and Misery in Brecht's Depiction of Third Reich Germany
"Der Widerstand, und zwar der wachsende Widerstand": Brecht's Dramatized Typology of Forms of Opposition
Songs, Poems, and Other Commenting Devices in Furcht und Elend and The Private Life of the Master Race
Epic Structure, Alienation Effects, and Aristotelian Theater
Concluding Remarks
Appendix A: Furcht und Elend Scene -Titles and their English Equivalents
Appendix B: The First Four Verses of "Die deutsche Heerschau" in German and English
Works Consulted


[This] is the first book-length study of the play in English and both an excellent exploration of [its] complex history in its various manifestations, a detailed analysis of its problematic anti-Fascist counter-propaganda intentions, and an in-depth discussion of its often-debated "epic" qualities. . . . [An] excellent and wide-ranging study . . . . JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

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