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.

2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

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.

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8 black and white illustrations
464 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Paperback, 9781640140547, March 2019
Hardback, 9781571139092, September 2015
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


[G]enuinely indispensable, even to readers well versed in the topic of "inner emigration." The two initial chapters . . . are disproportionately powerful distillations of research in literary history, genre criticism, social analysis, and factual-archival investigation. . . . [A] monumental study. . . . AUSTRIAN STUDIES

[N]uanced . . . . [S]ucceeds in its aim of providing much-needed detailed textual and historical analysis of ostensibly ambivalent writings about humanist values that passed or evaded Nazi monitoring of writing and publication. . . . [C]ontributes a remarkable amount [to] the ongoing excavation of this subcategory of nonconformist writing . . . . FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

John Klapper's monograph combines a general introduction to the literature of the so-called "inner emigration" with exemplary textual analyses. . . . As a whole the study -- which is not only directed at scholars in the field -- offers a good overview . . . . GERMANISTIK

2016 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Klapper's detailed efforts to historicize the reception history of the inner emigration, and to expand the imaginative scope within which twenty-first-century readers might re-engage with it, offer a blueprint for enriching new departures in this area. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

[A] seminal study that provides even a non-German-speaking readership a detailed view of this interesting topic. . . . Recommended. MITTEILUNGEN DER STEFAN-ANDRES-GESELLSCHAFT

[A] comprehensive analysis . . . . Klapper's book gives evidence of an intensive engagement with works of the inner emigration and arrays before the reader readily comprehensible and engaging interpretations that inspire one to want to read-or re-read-the texts. DER LITERARISCHE ZAUNKÖNIG

In this important and comprehensive study, John Klapper convincingly argues for a reassessment of nonconformist literature and National Socialism. . . [A] useful and important addition not only to literary studies but to the investigation of the arts under National Socialism in general. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

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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