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The influence and misreading of Brecht in China

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Bertolt Brecht was one of the most famous and one the most controversial dramatists of the 20th century. Brecht, who had great influence on the development of drama in China in the New Period (the period after the end of the Cultural Revolution), also brought many problems. Those problems also made different people in Chinese theatrical circles have different opinions of Brecht. Some scholars think that the introduction of Brecht’s plays in the New Period was “a historical mistake”. Some even doubt if Brecht’s theory met artistic law, or if Brecht’s plays are of value. Why was Brecht so popular in the Chinese theatrical circles in the New Period? What does Brecht mean to Chinese drama? Why was Brecht misread in China? Did Chinese drama really need Brecht? This article offers serious reflections and analysis of those questions.

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