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Bertolt Brecht

(1898—1956) German dramatist, producer, and poet

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German dramatist and poet who emigrated to the US during the Fascist period, then settled in 1949 in East Berlin. His early plays show kinship with Expressionism. Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera, 1928, from The Beggar's Opera) was an immense success. His development of the ‘alienation effect’ (which discouraged empathy with the characters on stage) and of ‘epic theatre’ (which used short, loosely connected scenes linked by songs, rather than a carefully constructed climactic drama) had an immense influence on succeeding generations of playwrights, as did his radical politics and subject matter. Major works include The Life of Galileo (1937–9); Mother Courage (1941); The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948).

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