The Weimar Republic (1918-1933), that short-lived and fatally flawed endeavor to establish a German democracy after the First World War, was a particularly turbulent and fateful time in German history. Characterized by economic and political instability and increasing polarization and radicalism, the period witnessed the efforts of many German writers to realize, through their novels and other writings, a long-held ambition to play a leading role on the political stage, whether directly, in the chaotic revolutionary period of 1918-1919, or indirectly, through their works, as documented in this volume of new essays. The novelists chosen were all popular in the Weimar Republic, commanding large readerships; each also wrote at least one major work of lasting significance. They range from such leading and now canonical authors as Alfred Döblin, Hermann Hesse, and Heinrich Mann to bestselling writers of the time such as B. Traven, Vicki Baum, and Hans Fallada. The works of these writers, with the exception of Hesse's, Remarque's All Quiet On the Western Front, and, through the film versions, Traven's Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Baum's Grand Hotel, are now largely forgotten in the English-speaking world, and have thus been neglected by Anglo-American critics. Among the authors covered, the full spectrum of political opinion is represented, from the right-wing Ernst Jünger to liberals and pacifists such as Remarque. Also represented is the journalistic engagement with the Weimar Republic, and in particular Berlin, by the well-known Austrian novelist Joseph Roth and the recently rediscovered writer Gabriele Tergit. Karl Leydecker is Reader in German at the University of Kent.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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