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Title: The role of the intellectual in East and West German society and its reflection in the novels of the 1960s and 1970s
Author: Bleeker, Harmanna
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1982
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Abstract:
This thesis examines selected East and West German novels in which the resources of prose fiction are used in a variety of ways to explore imaginatively the role of the intellectual in a liberal-democratic and a socialist society. After a brief examination of the European conception of the 'intellectual', the literary presentation, through plot, character, language and narrative structure, of the experiences, perceptions, insights and conflicts of a wide variety of intellectuals, principally writers, publicists and teachers, is analysed, and related to a brief survey of social, cultural and literary developments in the two German states. East and West German literary presentations of the intellectual are compared and contrasted. Recurrent topics are: the conception of the intellectual as 'conscience of the nation'; the claims, attractions and relative virtues of social involvement, detachment or withdrawal; the importance of individual integrity and responsibility; the dependence of intellectual freedom in both East and West on social and economic factors; the interdependence of the intellectual's private and public life; the tension between commitment to fundamental social values, whether liberal-democratic or socialist, and critical awareness of specific social evils. Both the East and the West German novelists discussed use the figure of the intellectual as a focal point for a highly critical view of their society. In the Federal Republic novelists committed to a liberal tradition which allots paramount importance to the individual, increasingly stress the importance of collective social values; novelists in the Democratic Republic, committed to the fundamental ideals of socialism, increasingly struggle to assert, within the limits imposed by official cultural policy, the vital importance of the individual's intellectual and moral integrity. Thus, despite the still considerable differences in approach, an increasing convergence of Eastern and Western conceptions of the social role of the intellectuals can be observed in the novels studied.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.704584  DOI: Not available
Keywords: German Literature
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