Literary communication from consensus to rupture

Literary communication from consensus to rupture : Practice and Theory in Honecker's GDR

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This study, the first of its kind in English, sets out to analyse literature as a form of social communication by considering developments in literary theory and practice in the German Democratic Republic in the Honecker era. Attention focuses on the changes in the discourses of literary theory and literary practice in a semi-public sphere controlled by an increasingly ossified political discourse. Key developments in the 1970s, hailed by GDR theorists as the point of departure for a new kind of literary communication in society, are carefully examined. The study then contrasts these idealised views of literature as social communication with practice and theory in the late 1970s and 1980s. In clear trends in practice (and, to a lesser extent, in theory) communication was perceived as being increasingly problematic and conflictual. The development from this sense of destabilisation to the rupturing in communication between literature and society, between literature and political authority and in literature itself became more salient in the 1980s as its forms and themes radically challenged the mounting stagnation of the discourse of political power. These conflicts are illustrated and discussed with the aid of detailed analyses of key literary texts and previously unpublished interviews with leading theorists.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 244 pages
  • 150 x 220mm
  • Editions Rodopi B.V.
  • Leiden, Netherlands
  • English
  • 9051837852
  • 9789051837858

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations. Introduction. 1. LITERATURE AS COMMUNICATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE IN THE LATE 1960s AND EARLY 1970s. From Lukacs to Brecht: changes in aesthetic theory and relations between writer and state from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Theories of literary communication and social function in the 1970s. The ideal of consensual communication in communicative-functional theory and writers' poetologies in the 1970s. 2. THE DESTABILISATION OF LITERARY COMMUNICATION FROM THE MID-1970s TO THE 1980s. Literary practice: the departure from 'dialogue' after the Biermann crisis. Literary theory: responses to the rupturing of literary communication. 3. READING CHALLENGED IN NARRATIVE PRACTICE IN THE 1980s. Volker Braun: 'Hinze-Kunze-Roman'. Brigitte Burmeister: 'Anders oder vom Aufenthalt in der Fremde'. Gert Neumann: approaches to 'Die Schuld der Worte', 'Die Klandestinitat der Kesselreiniger', UEbungen jenseits der Moeglichkeit'. 4. THE RADICAL DIFFERENTIATION OF LITERATURE AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE SYSTEM. Formal radicalisation and the crisis of communication. Concluding review: on the position of writers in the changed public sphere in post-unification Germany. APPENDICES. Appendix i: Interview with Dieter Schlenstedt. Appendix ii: Interview with Robert Weimann. BIBLIOGRAPHIES. Index of Names. Index of Subjects.
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