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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: Bertolt Brecht (ELCG10022)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBrecht was one of the twentieth century's greatest writers and theatre directors. He was equally at home with drama, theatre practice and poetry, and he contributed energetically to contemporary political and aesthetic debates. This course focuses on plays that Brecht wrote in the 1920s and 1930s, but we will also look at selected poems, including their musical settings, and essays on theatre and politics. In addition, we will consider audiovisual material which shows how epic theatre works in practice. All texts studied will be available in English translation, and no knowledge of German is needed to study the course. However, students of German will be encouraged and supported to engage with materials in the original German.

When analysing the plays, we will consider how Brecht responded to different political and cultural contexts during the Weimar Republic and his years in exile, and how he came to channel his rebellion against conventional bourgeois theatre into the development of a new theatrical aesthetic. The plays themselves deal, often in contrasting ways, with issues such as identity, political commitment, motherhood, religion and war. We shall consider these themes alongside current critical debates on epic theatre, gender and the status of Brecht's oeuvre since the collapse of state Socialism in Eastern Europe.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Open to German Honours students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 mid-semester coursework essay (1,250 words) : 50%

1 end-of-semester coursework essay (1,250 words) : 50%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Assess the nature and significance of Brecht's theatrical experimentation and the development of epic theatre;
  2. Discuss continuities and changes in Brecht's work, and how they relate to the contexts in which he was working;
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of performance and theatricality when analysing Brecht's plays;
  4. Engage in research on Brecht and produce clear, analytical essays based on evidence from both primary and secondary sources
Reading List
Primary texts

Drums in the Night in Collected Plays, vol. 1 (London: Methuen, 1994)

The Mother in Collected Plays, vol. 3 (London: Methuen, 1997)

Mother Courage and Her Children (London: Methuen Student Edition, 1983)

The Good Person of Szechwan (London: Methuen Modern Plays, 1985)

All four plays are available both as paperback and (more cheaply) as Kindle editions.

Students of German are encouraged to read the plays in the German original:

Trommeln in der Nacht (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1971) ¿ ISBN 978-3518104903

Die Mutter¿ PDF will be available on ereserve, with permission of Suhrkamp

Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1999), ISBN 978-3518188118

Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1964), ISBN 978-3518100738

Selected poems and short essays (handout)

Introductory secondary reading

Barnett, David, Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance (London: Bloomsbury, 2015) ¿ ebook available via DiscoverEd

Bradley, Laura, ¿Training the Audience: Brecht and the Art of Spectatorship¿, Modern Language Review, 111.4 (October 2016), 1029-48 ¿ available online via DiscoverEd

Glahn, Philip, Bertolt Brecht (London: Reaktion, 2014) ¿ e-book available via DiscoverEd

Hilliard, Kevin, ¿Tableaux of Suffering: Brecht and the Theatre of Pity¿, Publications of the English Goethe Society, n.s. 61 (1990), 48-64 ¿ available on ereserve via Learn Resource List

Lennox, Sara, ¿Women in Brecht¿s Works¿, New German Critique, 14 (17978), 83-96 ¿ available online via DiscoverEd

Mumford, Meg, Bertolt Brecht (London: Routledge, 2009) ¿ available online via DiscoverEd

Thomson, Peter, and Glendyr Sacks, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Brecht, 2nd edn (Cambridge: CUP, 2010) ¿ ebook available via DiscoverEd

White, John, Bertolt Brecht¿s Dramatic Theory (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2004) ¿ ebook available via DiscoverEd
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsDELC Bertolt Brecht,Theatre,Drama
Course organiserProf Laura Bradley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3634
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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