Bertolt Brecht

(10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956 / Augsburg)

Bertolt Brecht Quotes

  • ''To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Politics and Society, "Notes on Philosophy," (1941). Brecht's view of individual survival under fascism and capitalism.
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  • ''Art and science coincide insofar as both aim to improve the lives of men and women. The latter normally concerns itself with profit, the former with pleasure. In the coming age, art will fashion our entertainment out of new means of productivity in ways that will simultaneously enhance our profit and maximize our pleasure.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Little Organon for the Theater," (1949). Brecht's positive vision of theater in the coming age of technology.
  • ''The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Peachum, in The Threepenny Opera, act 3, sc. 7.
  • ''A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he'll give him sixpence. But the second time it'll only be a threepenny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he'll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Peachum, in The Threepenny Opera, act 1, sc. 1.
  • ''You don't need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Pelagea Vlasova, in The Mother, sc. 10.
  • ''Don't be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. Pelagea Vlasova, in The Mother, sc. 10.
  • ''War is like love, it always finds a way.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. The Chaplain, in Mother Courage and Her Children, sc. 6 (1939), trans. by Eric Bentley (1941).
  • ''Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of.''
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German dramatist, poet. repr. In Brecht on Theatre, ed. and trans. by John Willett (1964). "The Popular and the Realistic," (written 1938, publ. 1958).

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Best Poem of Bertolt Brecht

Questions From A Worker Who Reads

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning ...

Read the full of Questions From A Worker Who Reads

Not What Was Meant

When the Academy of Arts demanded freedom
Of artistic expression from narrow-minded bureaucrats
There was a howl and a clamour in its immediate vicinity
But roaring above everything
Came a deafening thunder of applause
From beyond the Sector boundary.
Freedom! it roared. Freedom for the artists!
Freedom all round! Freedom for all!
Freedom for the exploiters! Freedom for the warmongers!

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