"Es ist unmoeglich, das Gluecksverlangen des Menschen ganz zu toeten": intercultural happiness discourse in Bertolt Brecht's Der gute Mensch von Sezuan

Corkhill, Alan (2014). "Es ist unmoeglich, das Gluecksverlangen des Menschen ganz zu toeten": intercultural happiness discourse in Bertolt Brecht's Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. In Alan Corkhill and Alison Lewis (Ed.), Intercultural encounters in German studies (pp. 89-103) St Ingbert, Germany: Roehrig Universitaetsverlag.

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Author Corkhill, Alan
Title of chapter "Es ist unmoeglich, das Gluecksverlangen des Menschen ganz zu toeten": intercultural happiness discourse in Bertolt Brecht's Der gute Mensch von Sezuan
Formatted title
“Es ist unmöglich, das Glücksverlangen des Menschen ganz zu töten”: intercultural happiness discourse in Bertolt Brecht’s Der gute Mensch von Sezuan
Language of Chapter Title eng
ger
Title of book Intercultural encounters in German studies
Language of Book Title eng
Place of Publication St Ingbert, Germany
Publisher Roehrig Universitaetsverlag
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
Series Transpositionen: Australische Studien zur deutschen Literatur, Philosophie und Kultur
ISBN 9783861105480
Editor Alan Corkhill
Alison Lewis
Volume number 4
Chapter number 1.6
Start page 89
End page 103
Total pages 15
Total chapters 21
Collection year 2015
Language eng
ger
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Brecht's attitude to happiness, wellbeing and the 'good life' over the span of his artistic career has received scant critical attention. Scholarship has tended to focus principally on the playwright's satirical critique of commoditized or consumer happiness in Der Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1920) (cf. Jesse; Voßkamp). Furthermore, even though much ink has been spilled over Brecht's indebtedness to Eastern intellectual discourse (cf. inter alia Berg-Pan; Detering; Gellner; Hsia; Tan; Utz), Brecht's reception and re-contextualization of Eastern happiness philosophy, especially ancient Chinese teaching, has been largely understated. Arguably, one of the Brechtian texts best suited to exemplify the extent (and the limits) of the cultural dialogue between West and East is the Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (1938/39). I propose to read the play in terms of various modalities of intercultural encounter, namely through the juxtaposed, corresponding or blended concepts of Glück and Heiterkeit. In so doing, I take issue with the "dominant sentiment amongst scholars in the field" that "Brecht's approach is [ ... ] characterized by blatant appropriations of foreign traditions"; indeed, that "Asian culture and learning are never focal points in their own right" (Loeser, 73). This body of opinion may well derive its justification from the conspicuous eclecticism of each cultural transfer; however, it trivializes Brecht's intensive preoccupation with Eastern social ethics and the perceived applicability of such time-honoured practices for humanity as a whole.
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Thu, 19 Jun 2014, 15:11:12 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures