Hailed as one of the greatest German sculptors of A-Z 15 the twentieth century, Barlach also achieved considerable acclaim for his plays, and he was awarded the Kleist prize in for his outstanding literary gifts. The play is mystical and sombre, exploring the conflict between the principle of transcendence the Father and that of immanence the Mother , with the son as the battlefield.
A brooding atmosphere prevails throughout as the son attempts to escape the clinging maternal influence; although he perishes in the struggle the knowledge of an immaculate spiritual conception is gained. Die echten Sedemunds describes a fight for genuine values and religious awareness within a family; Der Findling is a mystery play which shows the power of love to redeem and transform. The North German atmosphere prevails throughout most, and a wry, often clumsy, humour is often prevalent. Barlach frequently published lithographs and woodcuts, illustrating his plays those for Der Findling are especially successful : these complement the work he did in wood, stone and bronze.
His eminence in both sculpture and drama is now assured: Das dichterische Werk three vols appeared between and , was reprinted between and , and two volumes of letters were published in and Bartsch described the life of the peasants in south-west Styria and the threat of Slav encroachment; other novels he published over twenty were characterized by excessive sentimentality and pretentiousness.
Bartsch wrote with a facility which impaired his earlier reputation. His plays include Ohne Gott and Fernes Schiff Vom sterbenden Rokoko is a collection of Novellen. Bauer, Wolfgang — Bauer was born in Graz, where he studied and has continued to live. However, he cannot be bracketed with a dated pop culture, as he uses its trappings for his own purposes, sharing with the early Handke and other Austrians a concern with appearance and reality and a stage method which demonstrates delusion and deception in ever more sophisticated variations through the way in which characters adopt roles and force them on one another through manipulation.
Was sind wir? Wohin gehen wir?
Werke seven vols began to appear in His Uferdasein is a collection of short stories concerned with blindness: those who cannot see are able to explore, writes Baum, an inner world of sensations and mystic awareness with a greater facility. Als etwas, was er eigentlich nie war und was ihm nie zuerkannt wurde. Vielleicht ist Oskar nur ein trauriges Symbol der sogenannten deutschen Juden in Prag. His prose style is reminiscent of that of E.
Hoffmann, and his predilection for the macabre he intended to write a Grabenbuch looks back to Edgar Allan Poe.
Baum was killed by a stray piece of shrapnel in That same year saw the publication of Menschen im Hotel, one of the most characteristic novels of the Weimar Republic. A thinly veiled description of the Hotel Adlon, it cleverly enmeshes the destinies, pathetic and frequently sordid, of the guests staying beneath its roof.
She wrote her later novels in English: Berlin Hotel attempted unsuccessfully to regain the popularity of the earlier novel, although the descriptions of air-raids over Berlin have a certain graphic quality. Her autobiography Es war alles ganz anders appeared in Bayer, Konrad —64 A member of the Wiener Gruppe, Bayer remained until his death the most wilfully experimental of the five in his work and his life style.
Artmann was his mentor, with whom he shared a taste for surrealism and black romanticism. Becher, Johannes R. A confessional drama, Arbeiter, Bauern, Soldaten, appeared in Becher became a Communist deputy in the Reichstag in the Weimar Republic, fled Germany in February and eventually settled in Moscow.
The Neue deutsche Volkslieder and Deutsche Sonette are undistinguished. Editions of his work include Auswahl four vols, ; Auswahl six vols, ; Gesammelte Werke eighteen vols, — A three-volume Werke appeared in Grosz was an early mentor and is portrayed in the novel Das Profit Deutsch-amerikanische Chronik portray the struggle of exiles to survive in the Brazilian jungle and in New York.
Becker, Jurek — Becker spent his childhood in the ghetto of Lodz, Poland, and in two concentration camps before settling in Berlin in Apparent too is its connection to the subject of story-telling, which is an abiding preoccupation of the central characters, who usually narrate their own story. In his account of his successful career as a writer Georg Bieneck reveals himself as a careerist, opportunist and above all as a fraudulent manipulator of all those with whom he comes into contact. When his estranged wife confronts him with the truth about himself, he accepts that he has flouted socialist principles.
Other novels focus on Jewish victims of the Holocaust whose inability to come to terms with the traumas left by their experiences renders them unwilling outsiders in either German state Der Boxer , Bronsteins Kinder , or similar figures whose failure to accommodate themselves to the expectations of their professional and social milieu leads not to active protest but to withdrawal, illness and attempted suicide Schlaflose Tage , Aller Welt Freund Neither these novels, nor the twenty-five stories of the collection Nach der ersten Zukunft , were published in the GDR.
Amanda herzlos , ostensibly a A-Z 21 private story about a woman and her relationships to three men, a conforming sports writer, a dissident author and a journalist from the West, viewed from their respective points of view, throws light on the mediocrity of life in the closing years of the GDR. Warnung vor dem Schriftsteller contains thoughts on the differences between East and West German literature. Wir sind auch nur ein Volk is a television series on post-Wende Germany. In them reality in the form of particles of everyday life is filtered through the subjectivity of the author, who then carefully arranges these often fragmentary and disparate perceptions, occasionally conveyed in deliberately ungrammatical and punctu-ation-free form, in measured proportions to form a symmetrical whole.
Faithful to the view that the old generic divisions are no longer valid, Becker combines lyrical, anecdotal and dramatic elements, exposes the stereotyped nature of the language associated with particular activities, in order to indicate how jargon hinders access to reality, cf. In concentrating on the effects of industrial activity in the urban landscape these poems become the vehicle of regret for the loss of the idyll represented by pre-industrial nature and fear of environmental catastrophe. Becker is also the author of numerous radio plays. The Gesammelte Werke appeared in , the correspondence with Hofmannsthal in More important is the more substantial novel Wunschkost , which tells of the POW Ulmer, whose comrades ensure that he escapes death from pneumonia by collecting enough money to buy penicillin.
Deutsche Lyrik seit 45 , In diesem Lande leben wir. Deutsche Gedichte der Gegenwart , and has recently returned to the short story Bruderherz Worte Bilder Menschen represents a crosssection of his early work.
Similar authors to follow
Werke six vols began to appear in Benn, Gottfried — Generally acknowledged to be one of the most outstanding German lyric poets of the twentieth century, Gottfried Benn came from a family of Protestant parsons, studied medicine in Marburg and Berlin and published, shortly after graduating as a medical officer in , a cycle of poems entitled Morgue und andere Gedichte.
Wir wollen den Rausch. Wir rufen Dionysos und Ithaka! The collection Fleisch appeared in , Schutt and Spaltung in and respectively. In an incomprehensible universe meaning is only achieved through the poetic act, the mysterious fusion of disparate parts: Broadway, interstellar space, the Parthenon, the cervical cortex. Benn moved in the same circle as Klabund, Oskar Loerke and J. His standpoint is clearly expressed in Der neue Staat und die Intellektuellen of Benn found himself, however, out of favour with the authorities for his earlier poems, his formalism and modernism, and was attacked in as a purveyor of lewd pornography.
In isolation he concentrated upon a definition of poetry as being an act of defiance in the face of absurdity and nihilism. Benn remained in Berlin after ; the brilliance, intensity, and also the tone of quiet resignation in his poetry attracted a growing readership who were prepared to condone his earlier political views.
In Benn delivered a famous lecture at Marburg University on problems of writing lyric poetry, a lecture quoted and discussed in Cambridge by T. Eight volumes of Gesammelte Werke ed. A complete edition Stuttgarter Ausgabe began publication in In there appeared his first novel, Das Gesetz des Atum, a derivative E.
Hoffmann and pseudo-expressionistic account of student life in which Atum, an ancient Egyptian sun-god, acts as judge and paradigm. Surprisingly, the book was not banned by the Nazis. Bergengruen remained within Germany, although life became increasingly difficult for him: in he was removed from the Reichsschrifttumskammer, although he was allowed to publish Am Himmel wie auf Erden in A historical novel which is set in sixteenth-century Brandenburg, the book also hints at punishment and a higher destiny; Bergengruen, by now a devout Catholic, was not blinded by the initial successes of the German army.
Der Tod von Reval is a grotesquely humorous Totentanz; Der spanische Rosenstock a delightful piece of escapism. After the war Bergengruen published his Rittmeister trilogy, and also collected his poetry and published it in two volumes, Die heile Welt and Figur und Schatten Bernhard, Thomas —89 A dominant but eccentric figure in contemporary German letters, with Handke the bestknown Austrian writer of recent decades, Bernhard has monomaniacally devoted himself to an ever more elaborate transposition of his bleak vision of the senselessness of human existence into a vast output of work in prose fiction, autobiography and drama, in which mental disturbance, physical decay and death are the permanent themes.
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After travels in Sicily, Britain and Poland Bernhard withdrew to a farm in the centre of Upper Austria which he turned into a hermitage for the production of the works eighteen full-length plays, seven full-length novels, numerous stories and shorter prose in addition to the autobiographical series which poured without interruption from his pen in the following twenty-four years. Many of the figures in his novels and plays indulge in more or less literary forms of the Schwadronade tirade or flyting monologue characteristic of Austrian folk culture.
Many of them are locked into inescapable family relationships defined by the dialectic of domination and servitude e. Alternatively the discipline demanded by art turns its practitioners into performing machines indistinguishable from circus animals, as in the Salzburg plays Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige and Die Macht der Gewohnheit In setting all his novels in remote parts of rural Austria Bernhard challenges like several contemporary Austrian novelists the strong tradition of the Heimatroman as represented by e.
Stifter, Rosegger and Waggerl, inverting its values to create black idylls. He often models his figures on real persons, making the connection more or less explicit e. Gesammelte Gedichte appeared in His prose is spare and pointed, conveying static situations without dramatic conflict. The eight Kindergeschichten A-Z 27 are not only for children; the strange but harmless obsessions of the aged eccentrics who populate them are portrayed with sympathy, while a few stories, in which the withdrawal to a private world leads to the invention of a private language, recall the inspired nonsense of Lear and Carroll.
Bichsel has attacked Swiss conservatism in combative newspaper articles, essays and speeches collected in Geschichten zur falschen Zeit and Schulmeistereien Der Busant marks a return to the short story, which forms the subject of the Frankfurt lecture Der Leser. Zur Stadt Paris contains forty-eight miniature stories. Bonifaz oder Der Matrose in der Flasche recounts the picaresque adventures on land and sea of the title-figure.
The original version of Maria Morzeck oder Das Kaninchen bin ich was produced and filmed in the GDR; however, neither book nor film reached the public and Bieler left the GDR for Prague in , eventually settling in Munich in Bieler is also the author of numerous radio plays, some of which are collected in Drei Rosen aus Papier , Still wie die Nacht. Bienek, Horst —90 Born in Silesia, Bienek had contacts with Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble until, after taking part in an anti-Stalinist protest in West Berlin, he was deported to the Soviet Union, where he spent the following four years in the Gulag.
He subsequently lived in the West, mainly in Munich and its environs. Each of volumes I—III focuses on one day in the lives of the Piontek family and their friends: 31 August , 4 September , Good Friday , while in volume IV the action is divided between the occupation of Gleiwitz by the Russians and the destruction of Dresden in February , an episode into which Bienek introduces the unnamed but clearly identifiable figure of Gerhart Hauptmann. Together the novels throw much light on everyday life during the Third Reich and in particular on German-Polish-Jewish relations in a frontier area plagued by communal strife.
Childhood and growing up in Silesia are also the subject of Beschreibung einer Provinz. Aufzeichnungen, Materialien, Dokumente and Reise in die Kindheit , and his other volumes of poetry Gleiwitzer Kindheit and Die Zeit danach are autobiographically based. Poems: Wer antwortet wem Prinz Kuckuck. His works for the stage, and further novels, were not so successful. The Gesammelte Werke ten volumes appeared between and Biermann, Wolf — Poet, singer, composer and guitar virtuoso, Biermann, whose communist father was murdered in Auschwitz in , was born into a working-class family in Hamburg.
From until September he was forbidden to perform in the GDR and all his publications and records appeared only in the West Die Drahtharfe , Mit Marx- und Engelszungen , Deutschland.
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Having been given permission to take part in a concert tour of the Federal Republic he was deprived of his citizenship on 16 November after performing with spectacular success in Cologne. He belongs both to an international line of poetmusicians incl. Despite the difficulties of maintaining his role in the West and the occasional signs of resignation e. A journey to Hamburg in inspired the stanzas of Deutschland.
Yet even birthday poems for his children are given a political dimension in the context of the nuclear threat. Klappe zu.
A Companion to Twentieth-Century German Literature
Billinger, Richard — Born in Upper Austria, from peasant stock, Billinger trained for the priesthood but later turned to writing. His novels deal with the interaction of the sacred and the profane, generally in a rural setting: Die Asche des Fegefeuers established his reputation. Das Schutzengelhaus deals with the experiences of Philomela Spielhahn, a town-dweller, during a holiday in the country, a situation somewhat akin to that of Cold Comfort Farm.
Perchtenspiel , first performed at the Salzburg Festival mixes natural and supernatural, modern and mystical, in an uncomfortable manner; Rauhnacht and Spiel vom Knecht anticipate the theatre of Franz Xaver Kroetz. The Gesammelte Werke twelve volumes appeared between and Binding, Rudolf — An author known primarily through his Novellen and war diary, Rudolf Binding was a late developer as a writer and did not publish until he was over forty. The Gesammelte Werke two volumes appeared in , with Die Briefe in The Nazis forbade him to write because of his expressionist poetry; he died almost completely blind.
Blei, Franz — Blei, a versatile critic, essayist and writer, was most influential in the literary life at the turn of the century, founding various journals, of which Hyperion was the most famous. Blei also wrote poetry and plays, some conventional Der dunkle Weg and Logik des Herzens , but Die Welle, produced by Hugo Ball in the Munich Kammerspiele , with Blei himself acting in it, demonstrated his links with more experimental theatre.
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He died in Westbury, Long Island. Six volumes of Vermischte Schriften were published from to ; the Schriften in Auswahl, with an essay by A. A-Z 33 Blunck, Hans — A writer of prose, poetry and plays, Hans Blunck born in Altona became identified with Blut und Boden literature and the cult of North-German earnestness, mission and superiority.
From to Blunck was president of the newlyformed Reichsschrifttumskammer; relations between him and Joseph Goebbels became strained, and Hanns Johst replaced him. A ten-volume edition of his writings appeared in he received the Goethe medal in the same year.
Blunck was pronounced a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator by the Denazification Tribunal in he insisted that the verdict was unjust.