Peter Brown

The New York Review of Books - - News -

The Eerd­mans En­cy­clo­pe­dia of Early Chris­tian Art and Ar­chae­ol­ogy edited by Paul Corby Fin­ney Ha­gia Sophia and the Byzan­tine Aes­thetic Ex­pe­ri­ence by Na­dine Schi­bille

But you, we don’t want any­more,” or “Let go of your dreams/That ex­cep­tions will be made for you./What your mother said/Was not bind­ing.” The notes and brief texts be­tween sec­tions (in an oth­er­wise rather fussy and over­seg­mented book) are good. If you don’t mind half­hearted smut (the orig­i­nals are spir­ited), you will like some of the “porno­graphic” son­nets; I think the best joke is that Brecht signed one of them “Thomas Mann,” an un­likely as­crip­tion to the vague het­ero­sex­ual and father of six. I have ev­ery ex­pec­ta­tion that when a 200- or 300-page selection is made from this col­lec­tion—what the film people call “ex­ploit­ing the rights” to it—it will be an im­por­tant book, and some­thing ev­ery­one should have. That is re­ally the one Brecht read­ers (and non­read­ers) have been wait­ing for, and are still wait­ing for. But for now, to ex­pe­ri­ence Brecht, lis­ten to some of the Kurt Weill or Hanns Eisler set­tings, read Stephen Parker’s out­stand­ing bi­og­ra­phy, and teach your­self Ger­man.

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