Brecht and Critical Theory: Dialectics and Contemporary Aesthetics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Brecht and Critical Theory

Dialectics and Contemporary Aesthetics, 1st Edition

By Sean Carney


208 pages

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Arguing that Brecht’s aesthetic theories are still highly relevant today, and that an appreciation of his theory and theatre is essential to an understanding of modern critical theory, this book examines the influence of Brecht’s aesthetic on the pre-eminent materialist critics of the twentieth century: Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Frederic Jameson, Theodor W. Adorno and Raymond Williams.

Re-reading Brecht through the lens of post-structuralism, Sean Carney asserts that there is a Lacanian Brecht and a Derridean Brecht: the result of which is a new Brecht whose vital importance for the present is located in decentred theories of subjectivity.

Brecht and Critical Theory maps the many ways in which Brechtian thinking pervades critical thought today, informing the critical tools and stances that make up the contemporary study of aesthetics.


'Carney has certainly produced a commendable account of the depth of Brecht's theory and theatre productions through well-written comparisons and connections to these major thinkers in critical theory. His generous approach to all thinkers involved is refreshing.' – Topia

Table of Contents

Introduction: Brecht Now 1. Brecht and Language 2. Dialectical Images 3. Brecht and Myth 4. Brecht and Narrative 5. Brecht and Tragedy. Conclusion

About the Author

Sean Carney is Assistant Professor of Drama and Theatre in the Department of English at McGill University, Montreal.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering theatre and performance alongside topics such as religion, politics, gender, race, ecology, and the avant-garde, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism