Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bertolt Brecht's Diaries, 1920-1922

Some Favorite Quotes from Bertolt Bretcht's Diaries, 1920-1922

How Germany bores me!  It's a good middling country, with lovely pale colors and wide landscapes:  but what inhabitants!  A degraded peasantry whose crudeness however doesn't give birth to any fabulous monsters...

..I keep coming back to the fact that essence of art is simplicity, grandeur and sensitivity, and that of its form coolness.

We've already reached a stage where it's impossible to give a compelling description of death because every conceivable way of dying has already been rehearsed and all one can do is borrow.

Meanwhile a lot of time is passing. I'm not making use of it.  I'm simply glad when it's gone, like skin peeling after sunburn.

I don't believe anything terrible happens in hell.

If one could only calm down to the great simple rhythm of life, the eating of potatoes, the dance in little plank-lined rooms, the sad sunsets in which the air expands, the unvaried external conflicts without distinction or refinement.  You rail against the uniformity of life--the mute dumb witted way in which all living creates refuse to meet their old needs in fresh forms--because you yourself are poor and have no compelling needs.

Expressionism represented a (little German) revolution, but as soon as a certain degree of freedom was permitted, it turned out that there were no free people around...

At night you tumbled into bed like a ripe fruit, voluptuously.

In future I shall produce nothing but flaming mud pies made of shit.

...tears don't suit her face.  She begins to look old then:  water trickling out of a ruin.

A queen is a queen, terror is terror, and Bi is Bi.  She's got style, but she never achieves the same effects as Nature.

...they don't wear the plot like a rubber skin but wrap it round themselves like a broad garment full of folds.

But when Hedda starts squiring high and low because I lured her out of her shell and then left her lying naked, then I remain cool as a cattle-dealer.

He served three years in the war, yet he's too much of a coward to ask an old man for some cider...

Previously he would never kowtow to a pig for the sake of its bacon, nor kill it because it wasn't a stallion.  But now he wants to construct brilliantly ingenious catapults with which to crush this sandflea at long range.

Taking tea is a sport with a bit of soul to it.

The third act is good apart from one or two details.  The fourth is a bastard, an abortion, a plan a cow has squashed.

We slithered about on a bench, she was pale, childlike, lascivious.

There's music under my skin like a snoring walrus, I'm not desperate any longer.  10,000 devils are drumming at me, previously there were 9999.

I realize I'm weak on verbs.

They lop off his feet, chuck away his arms, bore a hole in his head til the whole starry heaven is shining into it:  is he still Galileo?  It's a sex murder story.

And yet there's no kind of rule people find harder to bear than reason.

I described our relationship as something between a marriage and an adventure, a child of compromise in fact.

The man from Galilee died for himself, they called him back to himself, had need of him, didn't merely quote him, sent him to his death once again, then again and again, set him up in a tabernacle, whistled to him whenever there was someone he was supposed to die for, and had him dying for killers and skeptics in round-the-clock cinema performances.

The cakewalk doesn't suit a parquet floor.

An invulnerable man, because he puts up no resistance.

Nine of us in Otto's flat spent the afternoon slowly filling up with tea and alcohol.

Paint faces like still-lifes, landscapes like faces...

Idleness.  I kill time with matchsticks.  I take a critical view of the weather.  I walk till I'm exhausted.

He has too much sense of purpose, wraps a meaning into every situation, believes in progress and thinks that every amoeba is sooner or later bound to turn into a monkey.

Recently my fingers have developed a prejudice against comparatives.  They all follow this pattern:  A squirrel is smaller than a tree.  A bird is more musical than a tree.  Each of us is strongest man in his own skin.  Characteristics should take off their hats to one another, instead of spitting in each other's faces.

What alarms me about [Russia] is not the disorder actually achieved there but the order actually aimed for.  At present I am very much against Bolshevism:  Universal military service, food rationing, controls, conspiracies, economic favoritism.  On top of that, at best:  equilibrium, transformation, compromise.

A man with one theory is lost.  He needs several of them, four, lots!  He should stuff them in his pockets like newspapers, hot from the press always, you can live well surrounded by them, there are comfortable lodgings to be found between theories. 

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