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Echoes of Surrealism: Challenging Socialist Realism in East German Literature, 1945–1990

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Echoes of Surrealism

Challenging Socialist Realism in East German Literature, 1945–1990

Gerrit-Jan Berendse

226 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-068-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (May 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-069-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“[The author’s] questions about the echoes of surrealism in the GDR lead him to unexpected places, but he always manages to connect the discoveries back to the topic of the interaction between surrealism and the cultural politics of East Germany…The breadth is impressive, and the story that emerges is interesting. Motivated graduate students might even use the volume as a kind of workbook, reading and analyzing specific works that Berendse mentions in passing. Indeed, pretty much any chapter in the volume could be a useful jumping off point for an interesting and worthwhile dissertation.” • The German Quarterly

“An interesting study of an under-researched aspect of GDR literature which demonstrates the diversity of its cultural and aesthetic traditions. This is the first time the impact of East German surrealism has been discussed as a cohesive subject.” • Jean E. Conacher, University of Limerick


For many artists and intellectuals in East Germany, daily life had an undeniably surreal aspect, from the numbing repetition of Communist Party jargon to the fear and paranoia engendered by the Stasi. Echoes of Surrealism surveys the ways in which a sense of the surreal infused literature and art across the lifespan of the GDR, focusing on individual authors, visual artists, directors, musicians, and other figures who have employed surrealist techniques in their work. It provides a new framework for understanding East German culture, exploring aesthetic practices that offered an alternative to rigid government policies and questioned and confronted the status quo.

Gerrit-Jan Berendse is Emeritus Professor of the School of Modern Languages at Cardiff University. His publications include Die Sächsische Dichterschule (1990), Grenz-Fallstudien (1999), Schreiben im Terrordom (2005), Vom Aushalten der Extreme (2011), and Baader-Meinhof Returns (2008), edited with Ingo Cornils.

Subject: Literary StudiesHistory: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


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