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Brecht biographer Werner Mittenzwei passed away on 14 February 2014 in Berlin.  Born in 1927, he was the founding director of the Central Institute for Literary History of the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin.  He also was a dramaturgical consultant to the Berliner Ensemble in the 1970s and 1980s.  He published a two-volume Brecht biography (Das Leben des Bertolt Brecht oder Der Umgang mit den Welträtseln, 1986) and was a member of the editorial team of the 30-volume Berliner/Frankfurter Brecht edition (1988-2000).

Der Brecht-Biograph Werner Mittenzwei ist am 14. Februar 2014 in Berlin verstorben.  1927 geboren, war Gründungsmitglied des Zentralinstituts für Literaturgeschichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR.  In den 70er und 80er Jahren war er auch dramaturgischer Mitarbeiter am Berliner Ensemble.  Seine 2-bändige Brecht Biographie – Das Leben des Bertolt Brecht oder Der Umgang mit den Welträtseln – ist 1986 im Osten (Aufbau) und 1987 im Westen (Suhrkamp) erschienen; er war auch Mitherausgeber der Grossen Kommentierten Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe von Brechts Werken (1988-2000).

Stephen Parker's new biography of Brecht has just appeared:
Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life (Bloomsbury, 2014), 704 pp.
See the review in The Independent (London, 14 Feb. 2014).

Questions about English-language performance rights of Brecht's plays? Click here for more details.

To view/download a .pdf file for information about the Methuen Brecht edition with English translations from A&C Black, click here.

Drama Online is a new portal for Internet access to the works of major playwrights, including Bertolt Brecht in English translation.  For information, see:
http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/playwrights/bertolt-brecht-iid-12335

Brecht's Works in English: A Bibliography
Check this new website with over 2,600 entries if you are looking for Brecht's plays, poems, songs, stories, or essays in English translation: http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/BrechtGuide/

The digital Brecht Yearbook, vols. 1-32 (1971-2007) / Das Brecht-Jahrbuch digital, Bd. 1-32 (1971-2007):http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/German.BrechtYearbook

KURT WEILL FOUNDATION GRANT PROGRAM – Deadline 1 November
Each year the Kurt Weill Foundation Grant Program awards financial support to not-for-profit organizations for performances of Kurt Weill’s musical works, to individuals and not-for-profit organizations for scholarly research projects, and to not-for-profit organizations for educational initiatives directly related to Weill and/or Lotte Lenya.
For more information and guidelines, see:  http://www.kwf.org/kwf/grants-a-prizes/grant-program
or call New York City: (212) 505-5240

Announcements

Brecht-Haus Lectures
Klaus Theweleit - Brecht revisited!
Dienstag, den 25. März 2014, 20 Uhr
Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus
Chausseestr. 125, Berlin-Mitte

Unter dem Titel "Brecht-Haus-Lectures" startet das Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus in Zusammenarbeit mit der International Brecht Society und dem Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv der Akademie der Künste/Berlin eine neue Veranstaltungsreihe, die neue, fremde Blicke auf das Schaffen Brechts entwickeln und präsentieren soll. Wenn etwas allzu bekannt scheint, bedarf es des fremden Blickes, der distanzierten Außenperspektive, um es neu zu entdecken - das Brecht'sche Konzept der "Verfremdung" gilt längst auch für sein eigenes Werk. Nur so kann es gelingen, die Impulsivität, Beweglichkeit und Modernität der Ansätze Brechts hinter dem vermeintlich vertrauten Schulwissen über diesen Autor freizulegen. Den Auftakt gibt am 25. März um 20 Uhr der Kulturtheoretiker Klaus Theweleit.


The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (UK) is featuring a Brecht festival this spring under the title "Epic Encounters".  Download the program here.
or click here: http://birmingham-rep.co.uk/season/epic-encounters

Call for Papers
The Modern Language Association will hold its annual convention in Vancouver (Canada) from 8-11 January 2015.  As usual, the IBS will sponsor two sessions and conduct a business meeting.  To present at the convention, you must become an MLA member by 1 April 2014 (www.mla.org). 

#1 - Brecht, Protest, Youth
Bertolt Brecht had one eye on the future, another fixed on the past. His writing aimed not only to come to terms with contemporary events but also to expose social and historical causes of conflict and crisis. This was the case in East Germany (reactions to the Prague Spring) and West Germany (the 1968 student movement) as well as in Western Europe (May 1968 in Paris) and Latin America (Paolo Freire's and Augusto Boal's focus on the oppressed). What about today?  Is Brecht still timely after the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the Great Recession, and the rupture of global free market economies. What can we learn from BB's theories and representations of protest and criticism? Of particular interest are the ways in which protest movements and younger generations have engaged with and/or critiqued Brecht's work.
This panel seeks submissions from a wide range of topics related to Brecht, protest and/or youth culture, including but not limited to:
-Themes of protest and/or revolution
-Representations of opposition
-Juxtapositions and contradictions between theory/practice, complicity/action
-Theories of "experiment" (Versuche) as critique and/or resistance
-Brecht's (ir)relevance for today's popular youth movements and/or protest cultures
-The importance of youth, children, and future generations for creating a new social system (i.e., GDR politics, FDJ, Junge Pioniere)
- individual works by Brecht or genres (essays, plays, journals, prose, songs, film, etc.)
Please send 250-word abstracts to Ted Rippey (theodor@bgsu.edu) and Kristopher Imbrigotta (kimbrigotta@pugetsound.edu) by March 15, 2014.

#2 - Brecht, Music, and Opera
Brecht’s influence on modern opera, epic opera in the broader context of modernist opera, the work of his musical collaborators, “Brechtian” operas or music theatre by other composers, “Brechtian” stagings of opera.
Please send abstracts (500-word maximum) to Elena Pnevmonidou (epnev@uvic.ca) and Matt Smith (mwsmith1@stanford.edu) by March 15, 2014


IBS Election
Every two years elections for the steering committee of the International Brecht Society take place.  The nominees for 2014-2015 have been elected:
Alle zwei Jahre findet die Wahl des Vorstands der Internationalen Brecht-Gesellschaft statt. Die Kandidatenliste für 2014-2015 wurde gewählt:

Stephen Brockmann, President (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA)
Günther Heeg, Vice President (Universität Leipzig, BRD)
Andy Spencer, Editor of 'Communications' (Ohio State University, Columbus, USA)
Paula Hanssen, Secretary/Treasurer (Webster University, St. Louis, USA)