The Modern German Novel: A Mid-Twentieth Century Survey

By H. M. Waidson | Go to book overview

I
THE BLURRED EDGES OF REALISM

THE principal aim of the pages that follow is to give an account of prose fiction written in German between 1945 and 1957. The decade which has just passed has been a lively period in the production of novels and shorter stories in Central Europe; moreover, it draws together various phases of the German novel from earlier periods and allows us to examine works which, while being freely open to external influences, whether from England, America, Russia, France, or elsewhere, at the same time have their own peculiar stamp. From this contemporary writing we may legitimately deduce the existence of features which are peculiar to German fiction, and ask where the special contribution of German novelists lies, and what their particular problems are. Before reviewing books that have been written since 1945 it may be apposite to recall tendencies in German imaginative prose writing at earlier periods and their relevance in more recent times.

Much contemporary German writing is concerned with topical issues. Young writers take as their starting-point milieux and situations that have been immediately experienced, while older authors who once kept contemporay references out of their work have shared in the general demand for writing about the present and the immediate past. There is much and obvious commitment to political or religious or philosophical attitudes in contemporary German literature That this is so will occasion no surprise now, for it may be seen as a reaction against the regimentation of thought that took place during the twelve years of National Socialism. The sheer geography and history of Germany and Austria in the last twenty-five years might indeed justify a classification of writing in German from an ideological point of view. The literature of German-speaking Switzerland in its turn

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The Modern German Novel: A Mid-Twentieth Century Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • I - The Blurred Edges of Realism 1
  • II - Documentation 16
  • III - Past Time 33
  • IV - The Idyllic Ideal 42
  • V - Irony and Conviction 51
  • VI - 'the Golden Future Time' 62
  • VII - The Observers 72
  • VIII - Surrealism 78
  • IX - The Length of Time 90
  • X - Novel and Short Story 104
  • XI - Summing Up 115
  • Select Bibliography 120
  • List of Authors and Works 123
  • Index 129
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