Life and Works of Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht: One of the most important questions for the BA English, students in semester VI. This solution is based on the CBSE syllabus of BBMKU and VBU universities. One of the most important questions for the BA English, students in semester VI. This solution is based on the CBSE syllabus of BBMKU and VBU universities. Only important points are discussed here. BA English notes are available here. If you have any suggestions or questions, you can comment here.

Bertolt Brecht Life and career

Bertolt Brecht’s full name is Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht and also known as Eugen in childhood. He was born on 10 February 1898 in Augsburg, Germany. His father was Berthold Friedrich Brecht and his mother was Wilhelmine Friederike Sophie (Brezing) Brecht. Brecht’s mother was a devout Protestant and his father was a Roman Catholic. The first world war broke out when he was 16 years old. Youngsters were being forced to join the army but Brecht’s father showed him a loophole to prevent him from joining the army and allowed him for a medical student. He enrolled in a medical course at Munich University in 1917. There he studied drama with Arthur Kutscher, who inspired in the young Brecht an admiration for the iconoclastic dramatist and cabaret star Frank Wedekind.

From July 1916, Brecht’s newspaper articles began appearing under the new name “Bert Brecht”. Brecht was drafted into military service in 1918, only to be posted back to Augsburg as a medical orderly in a military VD clinic; the war ended a month later. Brecht and Paula Banholzer were in a relationship in 1917 and had a son named Frank Banholzer. Frank died in 1943, fighting for Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front. In 1920 or 1921, Brecht played a small role in the political cabaret of Munich comedian Karl Valentin. Through the diary of Brecht, he visited many times to see Valentin perform. He compared Valentine to Charlie Chaplin. In his incomplete work ‘Messingkauf Dialogues’, he mentioned that he was inspired by Valentin, Wedekind, and Buchner. He learned most from Karl Valentin. After making a great contribution to modern literature, he died on 14 August 1956 due to a heart attack at the age of 58.

Bertolt Brecht Works

Bertolt Brecht’s first full-length play was Baal in 1918 and his second major play was Drums in the Night in 1919. In 1922, the great German critic, Herbert Ihering praised his first work ‘Drum in the Night’. In his words, “he has given our time a new tone, a new melody, a new vision”. In November 1922, Brecht was reworded by Germany’s most significant literary award ‘The Kleist Prize’ for Baal, Drums in the Night, and In the Jungle. In 1923, Brecht wrote the sequel to what would become a short slapstick film, Mysteries of a Barbershop, directed by Erich Engel and starring Karl Valentin. Despite the lack of success at the time, its launch and the subsequent success of many of its participants means that it is now regarded as one of the most important films in German film history. In the same year, Brecht’s In the Jungle premiered in Munich, also directed by Engel was proved to be a “scandal” on the opening night.

In 1924 Brecht worked with the playwright and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger on Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II translation which proved to be a milestone in the development of theatrical performances and the drama Brecht. Brecht’s third play ‘In the Jungle of Cities’ opened at the Deutsches Theater in October 1924 but was not a success. During this time, Brecht revised his “transitional poem”, “Of Poor BB”. In 1925, his publishers provided him with Elisabeth Hauptmann as an assistant for the completion of his collection of poems, Devotions for the Home and finally, it published in January 1927. She continued to work with him after the publisher’s commission ran out. Brecht produced much literature some examples are given below:

Fiction of Bertolt Brecht

  • Stories of Mr. Keuner
  • Threepenny Novel
  • The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar


  • Baal
  • Drums in the Night
  • The bigger
  • Mysteries of a Barbershop
  • The Life of Edward II of England
  • Happy End
  • The Mother
  • The Seven Deadly Sins


  • A Bad Time for Poetry
  • Children’s Hymn
  • Mack the Knife
  • O Germany, Pale Mother!
  • Reminiscence of Marie A.
  • Solidarity Song
  • The Solution
  • What Has Happened?
  • In Praise of Communism

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