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Title: The past as story and model : the narration of history in postwar German literature and film
Author: Palmer, Mark S. W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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Drawing on a selection of renowned literary and cinematic works, this study seeks to explain the ways in which literature and film have searched through narrative to make sense of the traumatic events of the German past. In the aftermath of those events, a surprising delay in the treatment of history took place during the 1950s which is explained both within the socio-political context of the restoration and as a consequence of the extreme difficulties, identified by Theodor Adorno, which obstruct any artistic treatment of those atrocities encapsulated in the term "Auschwitz". Only in response to critical socio-political moments in postwar German history were works produced which attempted to deal with the theme. The thesis examines the various forms these narratives took and identifies how the stories and models of the past produced by writers and film makers in their attempts to narrate history gravitate between two poles: the one characterised by a desire to articulate memories of everyday life during the period of the Third Reich, the other determined by a need to show patterns of history through uncovering the workings of a system. To begin with, writers with a clear literary commitment were propelled through socio-political events into confronting, by means of their own distinctive stories and models, well established versions of the past which had been motivated by the desire to evade or impose particular ideological interpretations. Notwithstanding their achievements, these writers, because they chose to remain within traditional literary parameters, side-stepped key elements of the past which cried out for treatment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available