Literary Birthday – 10 February – Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht was born 10 February 1898, and died 14 August 1956.


  1. Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste.
  2. I don’t know what a man is. Only that every man has his price.
  3. The theatre-goer in conventional dramatic theatre says: ‘Yes, I’ve felt that way, too. That’s the way I am. That’s life. That’s the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That’s great art — Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh.’ But the theatre-goer in the epic theatre says: ‘I would never have thought that. You can’t do that. That’s very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That’s great art — nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.’
  4. Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.
  5. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.
  6. Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.
  7. When something seems ‘the most obvious thing in the world’ it means that any attempt to understand the world has been given up.
  8. There are some with brains and some without. It makes for a better division of labour.
  9. Forty years among men has consistently taught me that they are not amenable to common sense. Show them the red tail of a comet, fill them with black terror, and they will all come running out of their houses and break their legs. But tell them one sensible proposition and support it with seven reasons, and they will simply laugh in your face.
  10. He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news.

Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director. Widely considered one of the great dramatic creations of the modern stage, Mother Courage and Her Children is Brecht’s most profound statement against war.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 10th February 2015