Friday, 25 November 2011

Brecht, Bertolt "Life of Galileo"

Brecht, Bertolt "Life of Galileo" (German: Das Leben des Galilei) - 1938

An epic play about the life of Galileo Galilei, his discoveries, his conflicts with the Catholic Church, his conflicts with himself and the rest of the world. Brecht wrote this in exile in Denmark and later translated it into English himself.

I am not a big fan of plays, they should be played rather than red, in my opinion. However, I think this play is a lot more, Brecht doesn't' just write about the conflicts of Galileo, he writes about his own conflicts with his home country, with the evil that was going through it at the time, so it is a very interesting story and a very worthy book to read.

From the back cover:
"Along with Mother Courage, the character of Galileo is one of Brecht's greatest creations, immensely live, human and complex. Unable to resist his appetite for scientific investigation, Galileo's heretical discoveries about the solar system bring him to the attention of the Inquisition. He is scared into publicly abjuring his theories but, despite his self-contempt, goes on working in private, eventually helping to smuggle his writings out of the country.

As an examination of the problems that face not only the scientist but also the whole spirit of free inquiry when brought into conflict with the requirements of government or official ideology,
Life of Galileo has few equals.

Written in exile in 1937-9 and first performed in Zurich in 1943, Galileo was first staged in English in 1947 by Joseph Losey in a version jointly prepared by Brecht and Charles Laughton, who played the title role.

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