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Title: Identity, community and continuity in the East German novel
Author: Tate, Dennis
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 5139
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1977
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This thesis demonstrates how East German fiction has liberated itself from the ideological preconception that citizens of the German Democratic Republic would automatically enjoy a qualitatively unique sense of identity. Although the novelists retain their socialist confidence in the perfectibility of man, they have shown that expectations of preindustrial personal 'wholeness' and communal harmony are illusory in a technologically advanced society. Continuity is seen to be inseparable from conflict, in terms of individual, social and cultural development. Socialist Realist theory of the 1930's is shown to have been influenced as much by Expressionist notions of identity and revolution as by the aspirations of the Weimar classicists and Marx. Its hostility towards Brecht's dialectical view of realism has proven ill-judged. The five chapters highlight the main stages in the restoration of the criteria of realism to the depiction of man and society in the GDR. The utopian hopes of the exile years, and the inherent contradictions in Socialist Realism, are illustrated through the analysis of Becher's Abschied in the light of his Wiederanders fragment. The rhetorical insubstantiality of the first industrial novels is exposed through studies of the work of Claudius and Marchwitza. Chapters 3-5 show, by means of comparative analysis of three distinct groups of thematically related novels, how the new generation of writers has gradually established new standards of authenticity and formal subtlety. The detailed consideration of the ‘Entwicklungsromane’ centred on the post-war identity crisis, the historical perspective on the GDR's development in the 'Bitterfeld' fiction, and the more penetrating 'subjective' prose-works of the late 1960's demonstrates the outstanding achievements of Strittmatter, Fühmann, Wolf, de Bruyn and Reimann. An important body of modern German fiction is hereby placed in a revealing literary-historical context and new light thrown upon unjustly neglected individual works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PT Germanic literature