A new book, "Bentley on Brecht," published by Applause, has collected all of Eric Bentley's critical writings and musings on the eminent German playwright and director, Bertolt Brecht.
Encompassed within the volume are Bentley's previously published analyses and commentaries on Brecht, his personal memoirs of interactions and friendship with the Marxist dramatist, as well as some new critical pieces from recent years.
Bentley, who may safely be called the greatest living theatre critic in America, was personally acquainted with Brecht, meeting him at UCLA in 1942 when Brecht was in exile from Nazi Germany. During the post-war years, Bentley, more than anyone, helped to expose the English-speaking world to Brecht and his brand of "Epic Theatre." He wrote copiously about the Brecht, translated many of his plays and collaborated with the director on a 1950 Munich production of Mother Courage.
Bentley has published dozens of books during his lifetime, including the classic volumes "The Playwright as Thinker" and "The Life of the Drama." He was theatre critic as "New Republic" from 1952 to 1956 and is also a noted expert on the theatre of Pirandello.
For the past several years, Bentley has concentrated on playwriting. Among his best known works as a dramatist are Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? and The Recantation of Galileo Galilei. Bentley on Brecht sells for $16.95 and is available in most book stores.
--By Robert Simonson