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Title: Forms of literary assent and dissent in the Twentieth-Century German dictatorships:Gunter Eich and Bertolt Brecht
Author: Philpotts, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0000 4405 7245
Awarding Body: University of Manchester : University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis seeks to construct a comparative framework in which to analyse the literary production of the two twentieth-century German dictatorships. More specifically, it aims to develop an approach to writers and texts in both the Third Reich and the GDR which allows for a measured and balanced assessment of the forms by which they expressed assent and/ or dissent to the National Socialist and SED regimes. In the first half of the thesis three key terms - `totalitarianism', `ideology', and `resistance' - act as broad analytical categories for an explicitly comparative examination of social, political, and cultural-political structures in the two dictatorships. Notwithstanding substantial contrasts in the dynamics and organisational structures of cultural policy, writing under the two regimes is rendered comparable by virtue of the common `total' claim made by the National Socialist and SED regimes on the cultural sphere. The capacity of writers to advance or block that total claim in both the Third Reich and the GDR gives rise to comparable patterns of assent and dissent. Methodologically, this first half of the thesis draws heavily on the recent social historiography of the two German dictatorships where the focus has shifted from monolithic notions of all-encompassing totalitarianism towards the structural limitations and historical continuities which restricted the two regimes in the implementation of their total claims. In particular, the shift away from monumental and heroic acts of `resistance' towards everyday, partial, and often even non-intentional dissenting behaviour acts as a central methodological principle. In the second half of the thesis, the writing of Günter Eich under National Socialism and the cultural activities of Bertolt Brecht in the GDR act as case studies within the theoretical framework developed in the first half of the study. In both cases, their literary production is characterised by a mixture of assenting and dissenting impulses. This study aims to assess the relative weighting of these contradictory tendencies in each case and also to locate common features in the nature of the assent and dissent expressed by these two writers under the conditions of dictatorship. It also seeks to acknowledge an appropriate role for determining factors in the literary production of these two writers which have validity outside the narrow context of dictatorship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available