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Title: Christoph Hein : the concept and development of the role of the chronicles
Author: Raywer, J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The thesis is an examination of the concept of the chronicler and the nature of the chronicle as developed by the GDR author Christoph Hein from the theoretical writing of the philosopher Walter Benjamin. It examines the role of the chronicler as portrayed in Benjamin's essay "Der Erzähler" and his thesis on history, "Über den Begriff der Geschichte", and the way in which the concept was adopted and developed by Hein to become the basis of his understanding of his role and activity as an author in the GDR. Although Hein, as an important literary figure of the last decade of the GDR, has received increasing critical attention a full and detailed analysis of his theoretical development of the concept of the chronicler and its application in his works of prose fiction has hitherto not been undertaken. This thesis attempts to fill this gap in the reception of Hein by exploring the merits of this concept of his literary production. The first chapter aims to examine Hein's understanding of history and the role of the chronicler in the context of his own theoretical writing. It begins with his analysis of the nature of historical understanding and the writing of history as practised in the GDR presented in the essay "Die funfte Grundrechenart". Questioning the determinist methods of history writing in the GDR, Hein looks for an alternative orientation in Benjamin's theoretical writings. The thesis reveals how Hein adapts and develops Benjamin's concept for the chronicle as a form of writing open to the contradictions of contemporary society. It concludes with Hein's critique of a simplistic and deterministic concept of progress in history through the examination of the essay "Maelzel's Chess Player goes to Hollywood. Das Verschwinden des künstlerischen Produzenten in Zeitalter der technischen Reproduzierbarkeit". Chapters 2-5 examine the way in which the concept shapes the literary production of Hein in those works which he produced as an author in the GDR: The novella Drachenblut, the novel Horns Ende, and the "Erzählung" Der Tangospieler, as well as the collection of shorter prose fiction Nachtfahrt und früher Morgen.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available