The evolving image of the German Democratic republic as reflected in the works of Jurek Becker and Christa Wolf

Williams, A. E. (2009) The evolving image of the German Democratic republic as reflected in the works of Jurek Becker and Christa Wolf. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The primary objective of this thesis is to demonstrate the direct relationship between history and literature, with particular reference to literature published in the German Democratic Republic. It explores the period of history from 1945 to 1990 describing the collapse of National Socialist Germany after World War Two; the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the West and the German Democratic Republic in the East in 1949; the historical, political and cultural evolution of East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and finally the absorption of the German Democratic Republic into the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. Focusing on the literary aspects of the German Democratic Republic’s cultural progression within this established historical framework, this thesis examines the distinctive evolution - in form and content - of literature produced in the German Democratic Republic taking direction from the model of ‘literary phases’ in the history of East German literature provided by Wolfgang Emmerich. By analysing eight selected texts from the body of literature of two of the German Democratic Republic’s most prominent authors, Jurek Becker and Christa Wolf, this thesis illustrates the influence of political and historical events on fictional texts written in and about East Germany. Extrapolating from historiographer Hayden White’s theory which infers the irrefutable influence of literary conventions and developments on historical discourse, this thesis espouses an inverse corollary: that literary texts are necessarily influenced by historical developments. Thus, to a significant degree, an image of the evolution of the German Democratic Republic can be formed through a detailed reading of the literature - produced within this historical context, examples of which are provided by the analysis of selected texts of Jurek Becker and Christa Wolf.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Jurek Becker; Christa Wolf; East German literature; East German fiction
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > School of Languages > German Studies
Supervisors:Weber, U. S.
ID Code:1565
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:16 Feb 2010 12:53
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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