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Title: Drudgery, dreamland and Dionysus : the popular novels of Ina Seidel and Vicki Baum
Author: Sillars, Rosemary Anne
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
The novels, poems and journalism of Ina Seidel and Vicki Baum were part of that everyday popular literature read and enjoyed by an international audience throughout the years of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and beyond. Their wide distribution and popular themes ensured that they reached a diverse public, but their publishers aimed their attentions at that female readership whose buying-power and literary tastes were now acknowledged as a significant market-factor. Both authors recognised their powerful position and took upon themselves the responsibilities, with which they believed they were thus endowed, to enlighten, educate and inform. They wrote from a view of themselves as creative artists with particular literary skills but, above all, as women. Understanding ‘womanhood’ as their primeval inheritance, they saw a woman’s physical powers of generation and nurture as part of the order of the natural universe, uniting them with other female beings. But ‘womanhood’ also had symbolic and transcendent implications, linking humanity not only with the earth from which it sprung and to which it would return but also with the infinite cosmos beyond. The present thesis argues that this viewpoint was encouraged by personal and family histories but also by the social climate of Weimar. Choosing political irresponsibility and creative freedom, both women were content to consider themselves as alienated from a contemporary world they found in many ways distasteful, while continuing to expoit the advantages and opportunities it offered for career-success. They turned popular intellectual currents to their advantage, making domestic narratives and theatrical melodramas from a diversity of sources, exploiting current enthusiasms for the dramatic arts to demonstrate their views of the world which surrounded them. They also offered their readerships ideas of better, even utopian, social orders with historical, philosophical or anthropological antecedents. Their ideas of a better world and a woman’s place within it, shared with their vast and diverse popular, and international, readership, eased rather than challenged the ideological rise to dominance of National Socialism.
Supervisor: Hammel, Andrea ; Davies, Winifred Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.715143  DOI: Not available
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