Bertolt Brecht's house mail

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Bertolt Brecht's Hauspostille is a collection of poems by the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht .


Brecht wrote the poems in this collection from 1916 to 1925. The title Hauspostille is a parodistic allusion to collections of sermons in general, especially the collection of sermons of the same name by Martin Luther from the mid-16th century. The collection was first published in 1926 under the title Taschenpostille as a private print in 25 copies by Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag . An existing contract with the publisher was ultimately canceled. In 1927 it was published by Propylaen-Verlag , and notes were included for 14 poems (out of a total of 50). Brecht rearranged the selection several times, most recently in 1956.


The work is divided into "Instructions", six chapters and an appendix and contains in detail:

  • Instructions for use ...
Brecht gives a summary of the work here in a cheerful and ironic way ( [...] it is advisable not to read too much of it at once )
  • First lesson: supplications
About Bread and the Child, Apple Bock or the Lily in the Field, About the Child Murderer Marie Farrar, The Ship, Song of the Red Army Soldier (was removed in later editions at Brecht's request), Liturgy of the Breath, Prototype of an Evil One, Morning Speech to Baum Green, From Francois Villon, Report from Zeck
  • Second lesson: retreat
About fellow human beings, Orges singing, About schnapps enjoyment, Exemplary conversion of a liquor merchant, History of the pig in love Malchus, About the friendliness of the world, ballad from self-helpers, About exertion, About climbing in trees, About swimming in lakes and rivers, Orges answer when a soaped rope was sent to him, a ballad of every man's secrets, a song on black Saturday in the eleventh hour of the night before Easter, a great thanksgiving chorus
  • Third lesson: chronicles
Ballad of the Adventurers, Ballad of Many Ships, Death in the Forest, The Song of the Railway Troop from Fort Donald, Ballad of the People of Cortez, Ballad of the Pirates, Song of the Three Soldiers, Ballad of Hanna Cash, Memory of Marie A. , Ballad of Mazeppa, Ballad of Friendship, The Ballad of the Soldier
  • Fourth lesson: psalms and mahogany chants
Mahogany Chant # 1, Mahagonny Chant # 2, Mahagonny Chant # 3, Alabama Song , Benares Song
  • Fifth lesson: the small times of the day of the dead
Choral of the man Baal, of the seduced girls, of the drowned girl, ballad of the death of love, legend of the dead soldier
  • Final chapter
Against seduction
  • Appendix: From poor BB
From bad teeth, from sinners in hell, from poor BB

In the sheet music appendix, singing notes were given for the following 14 pieces: By Jakob Apfelböck, Gesang der [sic!] Soldiers of the Red Army, Orges singing, Orges answer, ballad from the adventurers, ballad from the pirates, Mahagonny songs I, II, II, Alabama Song, Benares Song, Vom Manne Baal, From the seduced girls, Legend of the dead soldier . Some of them contained key signatures and expressions ( quasi recitativo , parlando , espressivo ), but no information about an instrumental accompaniment.


The reception of the collection by the reviewers was cautiously positive. Brecht himself noted in his journal in 1940 about the house postil :

In the evening I get my house postil back in hand. Here literature reaches that degree of dehumanization that Marx sees in the proletariat and, at the same time, the hopelessness that gives him hope. Most of the poems are about doom and the poetry follows the ruin of society to the bottom. The beauty establishes itself on wrecks, the scraps become delicate. The sublime rolls in the dust, senselessness is welcomed as a liberator. The poet no longer even shows solidarity with himself. Risus mortis. But that is not powerless.


Text output

  • Bertolt Brecht: Bertolt Brecht's house mail , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1999.

Secondary literature

  • Hillesheim, Jürgen : Bertolt Brechts Hauspostille: Introduction and analysis of all poems. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2013.
  • Romeo, Rita: From Diary No. 10 to the house postille. Music with early Brecht. In: Brecht-Heft 5-2016, pp. 90-100.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Bertolt Brecht: Large commented on Berlin and Frankfurt edition . (GBA) Suhrkamp 1988-1999, Vol. 11 p. 299
  2. Bertolt Brecht: About poetry . 4th edition, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1971. P. 74.