The Writers’ State
Title Details

380 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

The Writers' State

Constructing East German Literature, 1945-1959

by Stephen Brockmann

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Examines the literature produced from the very beginnings of what became the GDR through the 1950s, redressing a tendency of literary scholarship to focus on the later GDR.
Twenty-five years after the demise of the German Democratic Republic, there is perhaps more scholarship being produced on all aspects of that country than ever. This is true also in the field of literary studies, but especially inEnglish-language literary scholarship there has been a strong imbalance toward a focus on the last three decades of GDR literature. The literature of the earlier GDR has mostly been dismissed or ignored by scholars, as the discontinuities between the early and late GDR have been emphasized over the considerable continuities. This book seeks to redress that state of affairs, examining the literature produced from the very beginnings of what became the GDRthrough the 1950s. In doing so it applies to GDR literature the insight gained by scholars over the past few decades that the immediate postwar period was more complex, more meaningful, and more rewarding of study than it was longdeemed to be. Far from all being mere propaganda or rote socialist realism, the literature of the early GDR has much to tell us about the budding socialist state, even as it goes far in explaining the developments in the later GDR.
Introduction: Reconstructing East German Literature
In the Zone, 1945
Brecht and the Battle of the Spirits, 1949
German Culture's Will to Power, 1949-50
Fascinating Fascists, 1949-50
Typical Heroes, 1951-53
The Danger of Optimism, 1953
The Worst of Times, 1956-58
Literature for Adults, 1956-59
Conclusion
Selected Bibliography
Index
"[O]ffers a highly convincing and much-needed insight into the context in which better- and lesser-known authors in East(ern) Germany worked." MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
"Brockmann impresses with the density and depth of his analyses, illuminating in new ways the complex cultural-political fabric of the postwar years. . . . [A] major contribution to GDR and postwar scholarship." GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW
"[N]ot just suspenseful to read and impressive due to its wealth of new material and ideas, but it is also a central study, particularly because of its success in demonstrating the necessity for and productivity of reexamining views that became dominant in the 1990s." WEIMARER BEITRÄGE
"This book represents an important resource for scholars working on East German literature and its relation to historical and political events in the immediate post-war period." FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES
"Brockmann's study lucidly demonstrates that East German literary culture in the 1940s and 50s was indeed full of public discussion about the direction of East German literature and that writers' voices were raised and heard. . . . Brockmann's contention that GDR literature was always offering a thorough treatment of the fallout of Nazism and the Holocaust is utterly compelling. . . . a study that will be necessary reading for future research that looks to the East German literary culture of this period . . . ." JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES
"[This] book is the best work in English to date on the role of intellectuals in the first decade and half of the GDR." CHOICE
"The value of the study lies above all in its feat of synthesis. It concentrates on a period whose analysis has not yet been undertaken with this level of thoroughness. . . . A consistently exciting read. . . ." ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR GERMANISTIK
"This book is a must for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the complexity of early East German culture and to gain a better understanding of how intellectual and literary endeavor . . . became the vital cornerstone of a 'writers' state." BRECHT YEARBOOK
"Offers a much-needed look at the context in which authors in East(ern) Germany lived and worked-and at their 'state' of mind-in the early post-war years. . . . Brockmann's impressive breadth of knowledge and clear writing style make this book an invaluable contribution for scholars and students alike." MONATSHEFTE

Hardcover

9781571139535

December 2015

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9781782046813

December 2015

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Title Details

380 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House