Nonconformist Writing in Nazi Germany

Nonconformist Writing in Nazi Germany

The Literature of Inner Emigration

John Klapper


Camden House



An innovative, critical, historically informed, yet accessible reassessment of writers who remained in Nazi Germany and Austria yet expressed nonconformity - even dissent - through their fiction.

Studies of literary responses to National Socialism between 1933 and 1945 have largely focused on exiled writers; opposition within Germany and Austria is less well understood. Yet in both countries there were writers who continued to publish imaginative literature that did not conform to Nazi precepts: the authors of the so-called Inner Emigration. They withdrew from the regime and sought to express their nonconformity through camouflaged texts designed to offer sensitized readers encouragement, reassurance, and consolation.
This book provides a critical, historically informed reassessment of these writers. It is innovative in scope, in its use of little-known sources, in placing authors and texts in a detailed social and political context, and in analyzing seminal topoi and tropes of oppositional discourse. One of the most extensive studies of the topic in German or English, it provides a state-of-the-art text for literary historians, scholars, and students of German literature, but also, thanks to its accessibility and translation of all material, serves as an introduction for English-speaking readers to this poorly understood group of writers. Two contextualizing chapters are followed by chapters devoted to Werner Bergengruen, Stefan Andres, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, Gertrud von le Fort, Reinhold Schneider, Ernst Jünger, Ernst Wiechert, and Erika Mitterer.

John Klapper is Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham, UK.


September 2015
8 black and white illustrations
464 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571139092
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, HIS014000, HIS043000
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Table of Contents

Nazi Germany and Literary Nonconformism
The Writers of the Inner Emigration and Their Approaches
Werner Bergengruen: "The Führer Novel"?
Stefan Andres: The Christian Humanist Response to Tyranny
Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen: The Snobbish Dissenter and His Tale of Mass Insanity
Gertrud von le Fort: Religious Wars and the Nazi Present
Reinhold Schneider: Indios, Jews, and Persecution
Ernst Jünger: Spiritual Opposition as Resistance?
Ernst Wiechert, the Principled Conservative: From Public Dissent to the "Simple Life"
Erika Mitterer: Witch Hunts and the Power of Evil


2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

In this compelling, well-researched study-a major contribution to the field-Klapper presents a thorough reassessment of (the) so-called inner emigrants and develops models for untangling the contradictions in their writing. . . . Highly recommended. CHOICE

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