The East German novel and its critical reception in the GDR between 1963-1973.

  • P. J. Barker

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This study examines the development in the portrayal of character in the East German novel between 1963 1973, using six representative prose works published during this period in the GDR as examples, namely Christa Wolf's Der geteilte Himmel (1963) and Nachdenken uber Christa T . (1968), Erwin Strittmatter's Ole Bienkopp (1963), Erik Neutsch's Spur der Steine (1964) and Auf der Suche nach Gatt (1973), and Hermann Kant's Die Aula (1965), One of these works, Der geteilte Himmel, is termed an 'Erzahlung', but it is normally discussed alongside the novels of the period, and it has therefore been included in the study. After an introductory chapter on the development of cultural policy in the GDR, in particular in relation to the question of character presentation, each chapter is devoted to an analysis of the portrayal of character in one of the works specified above, in which the depiction of the relationship between the individual and society plays an important role. Particular emphasis is placed on the critical reception accorded in the GDR to the characters depicted, and the study attempts to assess the impact of each work on the attitudes of literary critics and leading politicians to the problems of character presentation in the novel in order to determine its influence on the development of cultural policy. It is argued in the study that these writers, through the example of their works, made the decisive contribution which led to the freeing of literature from the out-dated concepts of socialist realism which had dominated character portrayal in the novel in the fifties.
Date of Award1981
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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