Stories of Mr. Keuner
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Bertolt Brecht's Stories of Mr. Keuner is a collection of fables, aphorisms, and comments on politics, everyday life, and exile. From 1930 til his death in 1956, Brecht penned these ironic portraits of his times as he was "changing countries more often than shoes." An ardent antifascist, Brecht roamed across Europe just ahead of Hitler's armies—only to wind up poolside in Los Angeles and then interrogated by Senator Joe McCarthy's infamous committee.
Bertolt Brecht wrote The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Mother Courage, The Life of Galileo, and many other plays. A major poet of the twentieth century, Brecht also wrote extensively on the theater. At war's end, Brecht became director of the renowned Berliner Ensemble in East Germany.
have been eradicated, an all-too-per manent substitute is provided to satisfy the continu ing need for them, which still exists. Enjoyment itself produces the need. Let me express it in terms of a metaphor: for such people who, because they are frail, feel a need to sit a great deal, benches of snow should be erected in winter, so that in spring, when young people have become stronger and the old have died, the benches likewise disappear without any measures having to be taken." 92
colleagues suffered or even disappeared in the Stalinist Terror. Nevertheless, in 1949 he made the decision, as had many other intellec tuals at the time, that the opportunity to contribute to the building of the "first socialist state on German soil" was a 1 06 worthwhile one, that the new East Germany held the promise of a more radical break with the traditions that had made Nazism possible than did the emergi ng West ern-backed Federal Republic-although Brecht also took the precaution of
and concretely, that fascism, exile, and war had left no mark on Mr. K., who has returned to Germany. In other words, the polite cour teous phrase conceals extreme discourtesy. What hap pened "in between " ( 1 933-1945) was not so important, can be forgotten or at least put aside. It's time to return to business as usual . And it was perhaps not least this atmosphere of a return to normality (and the promise of future prosperity) in West Germ any that prompted Mr. Keuner (and Mr. Brecht-or was
... . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The helpless boy . . .. . . . . . . . .. . . .. ... . . . . . .. . 16 . Mr. K. and nature ............................ 17 Convincing questions . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . .... 18 . . . Reliability ... . ... . ... . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . ... . . . 19 . . Meeting again ........................... .... 20 On the selection of brutes ... . . . . . . . .... . . . .... 21 Form and content .. . . . . .. . . ... . ... ..... . . . .. 24 . Conversations . . . . .
to have been bribed by something refined and intellectual-and that one did not want to accuse a bribed man of lacking in intel lect. Many, it is said, were corrupted by honors. That meant: not by money. And whereas money was taken away again from people who had been shown to have wrongly taken money, there is a desire to allow those who have just as wrongly taken honors to keep their honor. Thus many of those who are accused of exploita tion would rather try to make us believe that they took