Thursday, October 13, 2005

Stalinist playwrights

I was suprised, but pleased, to see Oliver Kamm, of all people, standing up for Stalinist fellow traveller Harold Pinter. However, it was at the cost of slagging off Brecht as an "appalling man". My view: both great playwrights, both not bad people, both got dodgy politics. Strongly recommended: Hannah Arendt's essay "Bertolt Brecht" in her wonderful book, Men in Dark Times.

To give a flavour, Arendt quotes an insightful point Brecht made about Hitler. She continues:
This is considerably more than most intellectuals understood in 1941, and it is precisely this extraordinary intelligence, breaking like lightening through the rumble of Marxist platitudes, that has made it so difficult for good men to forgive Brecht his sins, or to reconcile themselves to the fact that he could sin and write good poetry."

No comments: