Spring 1948 • Vol. X No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1948 |

Beyond Personal Frustration: The Poetry of Bertolt Brecht¹

Poetry has played a lesser role in modern German literature than prose. Bertolt Brecht, beyond a doubt the greatest living German poet and possibly the greatest living European playwright, is the only poet one can place in the same category of relevance as Kafka and Broch in German, Joyce in English, and Proust in French literature. Born in 1898, he is of T. E. Lawrence's generation—the first generation, that is, of what one is tempted to call the "three lost generations," hoping by this pluralization somewhat to mitigate the self-pitying attitude to political reality expressed in the usual phrase. Yet this sentimentality contains more than a grain of truth. If productivity depends upon a "placid pure development" (Hebbel's ruhige reine Entwicklung), then every generation of our century has been equally "lost"; the first, because its initial experience was the battlefields of the First World War; the second, because the effective lesson of inflation and unemployment at once taught

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The Scrutiny Group

By Arthur Mizener

Poetry has played a lesser role in modern German literature than prose. Bertolt Brecht, beyond a doubt the greatest living German poet and possibly the greatest living European playwright, is […]

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