Friday, February 4, 2011

A day of Lufting and Reading

Frische Luft. My IES Berlin friends (Oxnard and company) have taught me the importance of frische Luft and opening windows every day in Berlin. They have affectionately named this process "lufting." Today was a lufting day.

I spent most of it walking all over the place in Mitte, gabbing with my language exchange partner Lena, while my open windows at home lufted everything. Marvelous.

At the library, I spent the rest of the day paging through Brecht's Arbeitsjournal, which is a fascinating window into his life and work. Each entry is super short, mentioning only a few events or thoughts of the day. I was mostly going through the part from when he lived in the US. He expressed a few times how tiring it was to work on the translation for Galileo, especially, he wrote, the sentence from scene one: "da es so ist, bleibt es nicht so."

In the journal I also came across a new Vorwort he added to Leben des Galilei after the atomic bomb; whether this part was also translated I don't know. Either way, I think it's really interesting. The rhyme scheme struck me as quite Shakespearean, with couplets. It almost resembles some of Shakespeare's famous comic openings. But, of course, the Vorwort is not comic. Note the interesting use of Großbuchstaben; I didn't change anything from how it appeared in the Arbeitsjournal:

geehrtes publikum der Breiten Straße
wir laden Sie heut in die welt der kurven und maße
zu entschleiern vor Ihrem kennerblick
die geburtsstunde der physik.
Sie sehen das leben des großen Galileo Galilei;
den kampf des fallgesetzes mit dem gratis dei,
der wissenschaft mit der obrigkeit
an der schwelle einer Neuen Zeit.
Sie sehen die wissenschaft jung, geil und drall
und Sie sehen ihren sündenfall.
sie muß essen und ihr wird gewalt getan
und so kommt sie auf die schiefe bahn
und wird, die meisterin der natur
billige gesellschaftshur.
noch ist das wahre nicht die ware
doch hat es schon dies sonderbare
daß es die vielen nicht erreicht
und macht ihr leben schwer statt leicht.
solches wissen ist aktuell
die Neue Zeit läuft ab besonders schnell
wir hoffen, Sie leihen Ihr geneigtes ohr
wenn nicht uns, so doch unserm thema, bevor
infolge der nicht gelernten lektion
auftritt die atombombe in person.

Brecht makes it very clear from his notes on Galileo that he doesn't see Galilei as either a hero or a bad guy, but the Vorwort on the atom bomb definitely seems to change, or strengthen, or perhaps even weaken the original effect of the play, whatever that might have been. I find the line "noch ist das wahre nicht die ware" particularly interesting. If science really does represent what is "wahr," how it is used (to make money off of selling a telescope, to win a war by destruction) doesn't necessarily logically coincide with the pursuit of reason. The Neue Zeit, in all caps, is also fascinating. This kind of language was everywhere even in the original play, and after 1945 took on a whole new meaning.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Buchstabenmuseum one more time to talk to the director(s). Also high on my list: Tacheles and c/0 Berlin, which has a Mappelthorpe exhibit I still have yet to see. Hopefully the sun will come out eventually--I think I've forgotten what it looks like. Frische Luft is even better with some sun to go with it, I would imagine.

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