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Bertolt Brecht











Stephen Parker, Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life (2014)















                  What's New
It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14) John Röhl brings you everything you wanted to know (and more) about the last 41 years in the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14; The Spectator, 8/2/14) "This is a good year for those interested in Brecht," beginning with the publication of a new biography by Stephen Parker.  (The Independent, 2/14/14; The Washington Post, 5/16/14; The Times Literary Supplement, 8/13/14)


                  World Cup Champions
The World Cup of Modern Art? Germany would win that too, writes Jonathan Jones.  (The Guardian, 7/14/14) "Whatever its roots, German success is important and instructive."  (The New York Times, 7/17/14; Newsweek, 7/17/14) "Germany has a habit of winning the World Cup at symbolic moments." Gideon Rachmann explores 2014's golden moment (and why it may not last).  Financial Times, 7/14/14


                   Music
"This is not just Beethoven revealed, but Beethoven hyped -- the great anecdotes related and embellished by an enthusiastic raconteur."  (The Weekly Standard, 6/2/14) "In Berlin, Bowie made his journey from addiction to independence, from celebrity paranoia to radical, unmasked messenger..."  (Financial Times, 1/31/14; The Economist, 5/22/14) Free the Karlheinz Stockhausen recordings! "For the past thirty years, most of Stockhausen’s music has been all but impossible to hear, and a generation or more has come of age without the slightest understanding of what he once meant to young composers and musicians..."  (The New York Review of Books, 5/23/14)


                  Art / Architecture
"He was the catalytic director of potentially explosive situations in conventional theaters and in nontraditional settings." Check out the Christoph Schlingensief retrospective at MoMA PS1, now through September 1.  (The New York Times, 5/1/14; The New York Times, 7/25/14) The looting of art and antiquities in Germany didn't end in 1945. In the GDR, "officials systematically stole from the country's art collectors and sold their possessions to raise hard currency."  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/24/14) In memoriam: Otto Piene (1928-2014), "known for his experiments in kinetic art and for working at the junction of art, nature and technology."  (The New York Times, 7/18/14; The Huffington Post, 7/22/14; The Guardian, 7/24/14)


                  Books / Literature
"There are no more issues in the warehouse." It's the end of an era for the Brockhaus encyclopedia -- now available only online.  (Deutsche Welle, 8/17/14) Rainer Maria Rilke's "question is basically this: Can we exist without the aid of angels, gods, myths, or spirits?"  (The American Reader, Aug. 2014) "The university is simply not the place to study," wrote Walter Benjamin in 1914. One hundred years later, everyone at the university is studying him. (The Smart Set, 1/13/14; The Chronicle Review, 3/17/14; Mosaic Magazine, 4/3/14; Los Angeles Review of Books, 5/14/14; The Guardian, 8/7/14)


                  Film
The first English-language reviews are in for the film adaptation of Charlotte Roche's Wetlands: "Director David Wnendt and breakout star Carla Juri leave no bodily orifice unexplored in this spiky, smartly packaged commercial enterprise."  (Screen, 8/11/13; Indiewire, 8/15/13; Variety, 8/19/13; The Daily Beast, 1/17/14; Slate, 8/20/14) A complete retrospective of Fritz Lang's silent and talking feature films! At the Harvard Film Archive, now through September 1.  (WBUR, 7/16/14; Harvard Gazette, 7/17/14) "The nineteen-twenties were a time of unrestrained cinematic audacity." See F. W. Murnau's Faust, among the decade's audacious best.  (The New Yorker, 6/24/14)


                  Theater
"This is a good year for those interested in Brecht," beginning with the publication of a new biography by Stephen Parker.  (The Independent, 2/14/14; The Washington Post, 5/16/14) Tanztheater Wuppertal is alive and well, reports Roslyn Sulcas, with an ambitious 40th anniversary season.  (The New York Times, 5/15/14) The Welsh National Opera is taking on Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron -- the first staged production in Britain since 1976.  (The Guardian, 5/15/14;The Arts Desk, 5/25/14)


                  History
It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14) John Röhl brings you everything you wanted to know (and more) about the last 41 years in the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14; The Spectator, 8/2/14) Resurrecting Königsberg: An ambitious urban renewal project emphasizes Kaliningrad's German past (and European future?).  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/25/14)


                  Et Cetera
"'Uber' has traveled a long way in English, starting with Nietzsche and along the way touching Superman, the outsize ambitions of the 1980s, and online gaming."  (The Boston Globe, 7/27/14) Supergeil!  If this doesn't make you want to shop at Edeka, what will?  (Slate, 2/24/14; The New York Times, 7/25/14) Can this relationship be saved? On Germany, the U.S., and mismatched expectations in the post-Cold War era.  (The Daily Beast, 7/9/14; Spiegel Online - International, 7/10/14; Los Angeles Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/13/14)