Historical Dictionary of Postwar German Literature by William Grange

By William Grange

Old Dictionary of Postwar German Literature is dedicated to 1 of the main interesting our bodies of recent literature, that produced within the German language, even if from Germany, Austria, Switzerland or writers utilizing German in different nations. The linguistic consanguinity of those locales although, there are enormous diversifications in literary tenor and process inside of each one of them. This quantity covers an in depth time period, starting in 1945 at what used to be referred to as _zero hour_ for German literature and proceeds during the rest of the twentieth century, concluding in 2008.

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1991 Several former members of the GDR leadership are arrested; soldiers accused of killing would-be escapees over the Berlin Wall go on trial. Border guards killed approximately 780 people trying to escape East Germany between 1961 and 1989. Former GDR leader Erich Honnecker is allowed temporary asylum in a Moscow hospital. Significant publications this year include novels Die Verteidigung der Kindheit xxxviii • CHRONOLOGY (The Defense of Childhood) by Walser, Ein Mann im Haus (A Man in the House) by Hahn, Stille Zeile Sechs (Silent Close Number 6) by Monika Maron, Abelards Liebe (Abelard’s Love) by Rinser, Selige Zeiten, brüchige Welt (Wings of Stone) by Menasse, Maxim Biller’s collection of essays Die Tempojahre (The Tempo Years), and Delius’ novella Die Birnen von Ribbeck (The Pears of Lord Ribbeck).

1 If a complete break with history was not possible, then at least a new beginning for German literature seemed prudent. A rupture with the past, sometimes described in German as a Kahlschlag (clean break), in the immediate postwar years seemed to be one of many necessary steps xlvii xlviii • INTRODUCTION Germans needed to take if they were ever to atone for their innumerable and unspeakable sins during the Hitler dictatorship. For others, merely breaking with the past was not only culturally improvident, it was also impractical.

Allied occupation forces had jailed thousands of former National Socialist officials or forbidden them work in anything but menial jobs. By mid-1946, over 500 special civilian courts had been set up to try hundreds of thousands of cases, but as tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union grew, the emphasis in the West shifted from capturing and trying evildoers to teaching Germans how to embrace democracy. By the mid-1950s, when Germans were prepared to rearm in the defense of their budding democracy, many writers took vociferous exception to the l • INTRODUCTION establishment of a new West German army and the country’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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