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Title: West German satirical texts and the debate on national identity
Author: Evans, P. V.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1995
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Although the response of West German writers to the revival of interest in the national question since the late 1970s has attracted considerable academic comment, little critical attention has been paid to the fact that, in dealing with this theme, certain writers employed the unique literary mode of satire. It is the aim of this study to provide a corrective to the current critical neglect of satire by analysing the different ways it has been used as a means of participating in the national debate. The concern throughout is to consider satire's function as 'Erkenntnismittel', that is to say, to examine whether satire is a tool capable of extracting new insights from the debate. The study therefore seeks to ascertain the extent to which the devices specific to satire are capable of generating a valuable critical perspective on the German Question which is unavailable to other literary discourses. After a detailed account of the national debate and a general introduction to satire as a literary mode, the study takes as its starting-point three West German texts from the 1980s which explore various aspects of the German Question: Martin Walser's Dorle und Wolf (1987), Hermann Peter Piwitt's Deutschland: Versuch einer Heimkehr and Peter Schneider's Der Mauerspringer. These texts have been selected as comparative material against which to judge the more markedly satirical works examined in greater detail in the subsequent chapters, namely Günter Grass's Kopfgeburten (1980) and Unkenrufe (1992), Thorsten Becker's Die Bürgschaft (1985) and Wolfgang Pohrt's Endstation (1982). The final chapter employs the post-unification text of Unkenrufe as a yardstick against which to assess the insights generated by the earlier works from the 1980s and concludes by isolating the specific features of the satirical mode which make it an appropriate tool for grasping and opening up the national theme.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available