Bertold Brecht’s references to William Hogarth are not very numerous; moreover, much was disseminated or lost during Brecht’s years of instability and exile. Nevertheless, the British artist would seem to have long been on the dramatist’s mind. The hypothesis that Hogarth was already part of Brecht’s imaginary in the re- elaboration and historicizing of the Beggar’s Opera is supported by a scholar and writer who shared Brecht’s path for some years: Walter Benjamin, one of the first and also one of the most perceptive critics of Brecht’s theatre. Brecht and Benjamin were in Paris together, when the playwright was working at the staging of the Opéra de Quat’Sous at the Théatre de l’Étoile in September 1937. Benjamin attended some of the rehearsals and wrote a short essay under the title of the work’s French name. The essay is of great interest for its evident connection with the production of the Opéra, and it makes its reference to Hogarth explicit. This illuminates Brecht’s intentions as a playwright and as a director, and more generally, some aspects of the final aesthetic result of the show, especially those related to its visual presentation, its epic style and its ideological and cultural significance.

A threepenny Hogarth : Brecht, Benjamin, and a friendship, with Hogarthian traces between Weimar and exile / M. Castellari (CULTURAL INTERACTIONS). - In: Enduring Presence : William Hogarth’s British and European Afterlives. 1: Aesthetic, Visual and Performative Cultures / [a cura di] C. Patey, C.E. Roman, G. Letissier. - Prima edizione. - Oxford : Peter Lang, 2021. - ISBN 9781789974706. - pp. 143-161 (( convegno William Hogarth in Time: Metamorphoses and Afterlives in European Literatures and Cultures tenutosi a Milano nel 2018.

A threepenny Hogarth : Brecht, Benjamin, and a friendship, with Hogarthian traces between Weimar and exile

M. Castellari
2021

Abstract

Bertold Brecht’s references to William Hogarth are not very numerous; moreover, much was disseminated or lost during Brecht’s years of instability and exile. Nevertheless, the British artist would seem to have long been on the dramatist’s mind. The hypothesis that Hogarth was already part of Brecht’s imaginary in the re- elaboration and historicizing of the Beggar’s Opera is supported by a scholar and writer who shared Brecht’s path for some years: Walter Benjamin, one of the first and also one of the most perceptive critics of Brecht’s theatre. Brecht and Benjamin were in Paris together, when the playwright was working at the staging of the Opéra de Quat’Sous at the Théatre de l’Étoile in September 1937. Benjamin attended some of the rehearsals and wrote a short essay under the title of the work’s French name. The essay is of great interest for its evident connection with the production of the Opéra, and it makes its reference to Hogarth explicit. This illuminates Brecht’s intentions as a playwright and as a director, and more generally, some aspects of the final aesthetic result of the show, especially those related to its visual presentation, its epic style and its ideological and cultural significance.
Hogarth; Brecht; Benjamin: Threepenny Opera; Theatre; Exile
Settore L-LIN/13 - Letteratura Tedesca
Settore L-ART/05 - Discipline Dello Spettacolo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/867345
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