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Christopher Hampton

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Brecht always liked people to be aware that they were in a theatre. I said to him more than once, but Brecht, what makes you think they think they're anywhere else?
Horváth in Tales from Hollywood (1983), scene 8

Christopher Hampton

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I turned to Brecht and asked him why, if he felt the way he did about Jerome and the other American Communists, he kept on collaborating with them, particularly in view of their apparent approval or indifference to what was happening in the Soviet Union.[...] Brecht shrugged his shoulders and kept on making invidious remarks about the American Communist Party and asserted that only the Soviet Union and its Communist Party mattered. [...] But I was the Kremlin and above all Stalin himself who were responsible for the arrest and imprisonment of the opposition and their dependents. It was at this point that he said in words I have never forgotten, 'As for them, the more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.' I was so taken aback that I thought I had misheard him. 'What are you saying?' I asked. He calmly repeated himself, 'The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.' [...] I was stunned by his words. 'Why? Why?' I exclaimed. All he did was smile at me in a nervous sort of way. I waited, but he said nothing after I repeated my question. I got up, went into the next room, and fetched his hat and coat. When I returned, he was still sitting in his chair, holding a drink in his hand. When he saw me with his hat and coat, he looked surprised. He put his glass down, rose, and with a sickly smile took his hat and coat and left. Neither of us said a word. I never saw him again.

Sidney Hook

It was a brilliant, mutinous period. Brecht gave back to German prose its Lutheran simplicity and Thomas Mann brought into his style the supple, luminous elegance of the classic and Mediterranean tradition. These years, 1920-33, were the anni mirabiles of the modern German spirit.

George Steiner

Beckett was his real name. He had a brother named Brecht and a sister named Joyce. His parents had been fifties bohemians: now they were both Labour Party officials. He lived in Caulfield with a mob of ex-punkers, most of whom worked on Saturdays at the racecourse. Beckett, however, had a real job as a computer technician. He asked me, 'So what do you do, Caitlin?'

Leonie Stevens

Every work of art (unless it is a psuedo-intellectualist work, a work already comprised in some ideology that it merely illustrates, as with Brecht) is outside ideology, is not reducible to ideology. Ideology circumscribes without penetrating it. The absence of ideology in a work does not mean an absence of ideas; on the contrary it fertilizes them.

Eugene Ionesco

As a youth I enjoyed — indeed, like most of my contemporaries, revered — the agitprop plays of Brecht, and his indictments of Capitalism. It later occurred to me that his plays were copyrighted, and that he, like I, was living through the operations of that same free market. His protestations were not borne out by his actions, neither could they be. Why, then, did he profess Communism? Because it sold. The public’s endorsement of his plays kept him alive; as Marx was kept alive by the fortune Engels’s family had made selling furniture; as universities, established and funded by the Free Enterprise system — which is to say by the accrual of wealth — house, support, and coddle generations of the young in their dissertations on the evils of America.

Bertolt Brecht
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