Bureaucracy and Dissent: East German Subjectivity and Socialist Realism in the Context of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Romania
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CitationBurgoyne, Nicole Gavi. 2016. Bureaucracy and Dissent: East German Subjectivity and Socialist Realism in the Context of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation analyzes the central role of interior monologue and subjectivity in the GDR’s discourse of Socialist Realism. It argues that these stylistic elements, often associated with modernism, were central to the bureaucracy’s criteria for publication. Censored texts by authors who sought to criticize East German society presented subjective narratives and nonetheless sought to speak to common experiences. In order to properly contextualize these issues within East Bloc cultural policy, four chapters draw on comparative analysis with the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, or Romania. I begin with the intellectual tradition of Socialist Realism established before the Second World War in the Soviet Union and by exiled German-speaking thinkers in my first chapter. I compare theoretical premises to institutional practices in the GDR. Chapter two takes Christa Wolf as a case study of a dogmatic student of the GDR’s official culture and budding cultural functionary, who developed her own theory of Socialist Realism in the 1960s. Moving into the tumultuous later years of the GDR, I examine the GDR’s widespread political protests of the Soviet invasion of the Prague Spring, and compare the success of marginalized or banned Czechoslovak and East German authors abroad in my third chapter. Elaborating on these themes, chapter four compares novels by Siegmar Faust and Jiří Gruša in order to establish similarities in young people’s frustration with Socialist society in East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Chapter five addresses the impact of opening the secret police archives to the public on post-Wall literature by contrasting novels by Herta Müller and Wolfgang Hilbig, natives of Romania and East Germany respectively.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33840730
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