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Modern Brecht

Margot Heinemann, 5 August 1982

Bertolt Brecht in America 
by James Lyon.
Princeton, 408 pp., £11, January 1981, 0 691 06443 1
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Bertolt Brecht: Political Theory and Literary Practice 
edited by Betty Webber and Hubert Heinen.
Manchester, 208 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 7190 0806 9
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Brecht 
by Jan Needle and Peter Thomson.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9, February 1981, 0 631 19610 2
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... rigidly subjected to a contemporising process, in the manner demonstrated for Shakespeare by Jan Kott.’ But although Brecht was in favour of adapting and reworking classical texts to make them clearer and more instructive for a modern audience, he had little use for ‘contemporisation’ in the sense of arbitrary updating. If we simply ‘annihilate ...

From Norwich to Naples

Anthony Grafton, 28 April 1994

The Civilisation of Europe in the Renaissance 
by John Hale.
HarperCollins, 648 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 00 215339 4
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... tortured by devils tumble, gallop and fly past the onlooker. The flamboyantly dressed soldiers, needle-sharp lances, Hills of Golgotha and Towers of Babel that fill his works are carefully reproduced from dozens of well-known Renaissance paintings. Within the swirling clouds of detail, juxtapositions suggest interpretations. Mining machinery and printing ...

A Most Delicate Invention

Tim Parks: ‘Money and Beauty’, 22 September 2011

... for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle’. St John the Baptist appears again on the mint’s statute book, produced in 1341. True to the biblical account, he wears a hair shirt, a token of his life of poverty, except that the Florentine artist has also wrapped around his shoulders the red cloak ...

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