Goethe in East Germany, 1949-1989

Goethe in East Germany, 1949-1989

Toward a History of Goethe Reception in the GDR

Daniel J. Farrelly

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The first book, in the English-speaking world or elsewhere, to offer an analysis and evaluation of GDR Goethe reception.
Goethe and Schiller, as representatives of Weimar Classicism, had a pivotal function in the cultural policy of the GDR in the forty years of its existence (1949-1989). Goethe in particular was crucial to the GDR's aim of finding a focus for the cultural reformation of post-war Germany in the Soviet-occupied zone. This book offers a study of the implications of such a situation for the reception of Goethe and his work. Contrary to the general perception, influenced and represented by Walter Hinderer's chapter in the Klassik-Legende, that one-sidedness and blind obedience govern the inflexible commitment of GDR scholars of the German classical period, it can be shown that the GDR Marxist tradition of Goethe scholarship is in fact characterized by a series of vigorous internal debates.


Farrelly's insistence on returning to the texts to sort out questions of interpretation ... proves valuable because it discards that abstractness which is symptomatic not only of Marxist criticism. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

Provides valuable insights into the complexities of [Goethe research] during the Cold War. EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES

This is a stimulating and well-conceived work. MONATSHEFTE

An excellent orientation ... A valuable contribution to the understanding of Goethe reception in the GDR. SEMINAR

Farrelly's unwavering focus ... produces the great accomplishments in his book, namely, the reintroduction of a number of useful and historically significant collaborative works produced in East Germany.... GOETHE YEARBOOK

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