Although the work of the young Bertolt Brecht used to be neglected by literary and theater scholars, it has attracted growing attention. Brecht's early work - including the work that he did in his teens as a schoolboy in Augsburg - is far too complex and differentiated simply to be written off as a proto-Marxist phase paving the way for the "classic" Brecht. The contributions to this volume show the ambitious young man in a field of tension between his radical questioning of moral, religious, and literary authorities and his unconditional will to become a famous writer, even if it meant making significant compromises. The volume explores the young Brecht in a multifaceted, complex way, and its authors - Reinhold Grimm, Jan Knopf, James K. Lyon, and others - take different, sometimes conflicting, positions about the writer. Published for the first time are two previously unknown texts by the young Brecht.
Jurgen Hillesheim is director of the Brecht research center at the Staatsbibliothek Augsburg and the author of a book about the aesthetics of the young Bertolt Brecht. Stephen Brockmann is professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University and the managing editor of the Brecht Yearbook. He is the author of German Literary Culture at the Zero Hour.