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“Erst kommt das Fressen, ..." Bertolt Brecht - Glücksverlangen, Produktivität und Materialwert

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“Erst kommt das Fressen, ..." Bertolt Brecht - Striving for happiness, productivity and material value In Brecht's literary production and his theoretical writings “striving for happiness" is a central issue from early on, especially since the Baal-character and remains so in his late works where it becomes a central aspect in his political considerations. The conceptualisation of this attitude however shifts. The meaning of sensuality and enjoyment, egoism and a-sociality, reason and rationality, altruism and social responsibility and especially of consumption and production changes over the years: the rupture can best be identified in the various versions of Mahagonny and the representation of the relation between enjoyment and money. "Devouring" versus morality in Die Dreigroschenoper as well as Fatzer, Azdak, Schweyk, Galilei and Puntila as contradictory Baal'-characters further highlight this aspect. In contrast Brecht's aesthetic procedure remains constant when he "swallows" literary and theoretical texts by other authors such as Nietzsche, Spinoza and Freud that is their anti-moralism, materialism and pleasure principle in order to use them as material for his own aesthetic production. Finally, this article shows how Brecht's late Glücksgott-Fragment with its combination of sensual pleasure and productive work points to a consuming productivity and thereby to the potentiality of a happy life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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