By the same authors

From the same journal

Dialectics and the Brechtian Tradition. Some Thoughts on Politicized Performance

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Published copy (DOI)



Publication details

JournalPerformance research
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Dec 2015
DatePublished (current) - 9 Jun 2016
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)6-15
Original languageEnglish


‘Dialectics’ is a contested term, and this article engages with its interpretation by a foundational figure in the history of performing dialectics, Bertolt Brecht. Brecht’s ideas on dialectics run through his writings, but here the investigation focuses on the fragmentary book that was never published in his lifetime, Me-ti, or The Book of Twists and Turns. This analysis reveals how Brecht related his dialectical worldview to questions of realism in the theatre through his construction of the ‘Great Method’, his term for a politicized inquiry into the nature of reality. The open, heterogeneous and pragmatic theoretical approach to dialectics is then compared with Brecht’s theatre practice at the Berliner Ensemble, the company he co-founded in 1949. The discrepancies identified between the two inform the article’s final section, in which a post-Brechtian theatre is considered as offering fitting responses to Brecht’s dialectical impasse.

    Research areas

  • Bertolt Brecht, Dialectics, theatre studies, Heiner Müller

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