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Title: 'Eine Rechnung, die nicht aufgeht' : identity and ideology in the fiction of Wolfdietrich Schnurre
Author: Roberts, I. G.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1995
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Despite his being a founder-member of the Gruppe 47, Wolfdietrich Schnurre's work has been largely overlooked by academics, even though his contribution to the West German literary scene has been considerable. This oversight is partially explained by Schnurre's preoccupation with the exploration of failure and guilt in his fiction: features which initially ensured prominence for the author, but which increasingly proved less attractive to readers. This study traces Schnurre's thematic and narrative development through a fifty-year literary career, to establish that an acute sense of personal guilt lies at the centre of his fiction. An accurate biography for Schnurre is established, of the years 1939-1945 in particular, in order to compare Schnurre's version of events with fictional accounts of life under the Nazis. Two periods of his life dominate Schnurre's fiction: his childhood in Berlin, against a backdrop of street-fighting between the Communists and the Brownshirts; and Schnurre's six-and-a-half years in the German army. Both periods come to be associated with guilt only after Germany's surrender in May 1945. Schnurre's belief that he should have opposed the Nazis informs his subsequent fictional work throughout his career, prompting him to present an idealised version of the past. He repeatedly returned to a small nucleus of autobiographical events to examine them from various angles, applying to them a range of literary styles and ideologies, in order to lay the past to rest and to rediscover a lost sense of identity. Schnurre's career is placed against the context of the collapse of National Socialism, the Cold War and the growing political and economic success of the Federal Republic. Schnurre, as presented in this thesis, becomes a representative figure, both of a generation and of a kind of sensibility.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available