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The Good Woman of Setzuan

1999
Author:

Bertolt Brecht
Translated by Eric Bentley

The Good Woman of Setzuan

An essential play by a master playwright, with a new introduction.

In 1952, Hannah Arendt hailed Bertolt Brecht as “beyond a doubt the greatest living German poet and possibly the greatest living European playwright.” The Good Woman of Setzuan, written during Brecht’s exile and set in pre-Communist China, is a parable of a young woman torn between obligation and reality, between love and practicality, and between her own needs and those of her friends and neighbors. This is a performance-friendly translation of one of Brecht’s most popular plays.

In 1952, Hannah Arendt hailed Bertolt Brecht as “beyond a doubt the greatest living German poet and possibly the greatest living European playwright.” His plays, widely taught, studied, and performed, are searing critiques of civilizations run amok.

During the thirties, the subversive nature of his work sent Brecht from Germany to Scandinavia and later to the United States. The Good Woman of Setzuan, written during Brecht’s exile and set in pre-Communist China, is a parable of a young woman torn between obligation and reality, between love and practicality, and between her own needs and those of her friends and neighbors.

This is a performance-friendly translation of one of Brecht’s most popular plays.

The Good Woman of Setzuan

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is perhaps Germany’s best-known playwright. His social critiques, including The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mother Courage and Her Children and The Threepenny Opera, resonate with modern audiences and continue to be frequently performed.

Eric Bentley, one of the foremost authorities on the modern theater, is a recognized playwright, critic, and scholar, and a longtime intimate of Brecht. His most recent book is Bentley on Brecht, and his translation of The Caucasian Chalk Circle is also available from the University of Minnesota Press.

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