About The Book
Known primarily as a dramatist, Bertolt Brecht was also a gifted poet. These fifty poems—among them many ballads that later became part of The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, and Baal—reveal the tremendous range and versatility of Brecht’s expression. His first and best book of poetry, Manual of Piety uses the traditional form of devotional literature to provide an irreverent spoof and a serious critique of the post-World War I European (and, more specifically, German) culture that gave rise to fascism. His characteristically sly wit combines with mordant social commentary to make Manual of Piety Brecht at his most hilarious—and also his most brutally incisive.
“A great poet. . . . Brecht may be considered to have made the major German contribution to world literature in our time.” —Rudolf Leonhardt, The New York Times Book Review
“A book and a translation quick with life and black laughter.” —Harold Clurman
“Mr Bentley’s translations are admirable, vigorous, and vital in their rhythms, natural and yet surprising, alive and contemporary in their diction.” —Partisan Review