Wolfgang Borchert has been called "the most important voice of post-war German literature." He came to fame literally overnight when his play 'Draussen vor der Tür' (The Man Outside) was broadcast in the British zone of occupied Germany in February 1947 and evoked impassioned reactions both for and against. An examination of the plight of the returning soldier in the postwar world, it has become an icon of its time, capturing the futility of war and the true cost of the destruction in both physical and spiritual terms. Worldwide, 'Draussen vor der Tür' has been produced more often than any other German play. Between January 1946 and his death in November 1947, Borchert wrote over forty short stories on the model of Hemingway and Wolfe, many of them highly experimental. Indeed, he is widely regarded as having introduced the short-story form into German literature. This is the first full-length account of Borchert's life and works in English. It benefits from unprecedented access to archival material and from interviews with Borchert's contemporaries. The study links Borchert's own literary ambition with the enlightened family circumstances in which he grew up, and charts his development from a rebellious teenager with a passion for theater via his fighting as a soldier on Germany's Eastern Front and his imprisonment by the Nazis to his brief but intense career as a writer. Gordon Burgess is Emeritus Professor of German at the University of Aberdeen.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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