The Portrayal of the Late 1950s in GDR Literature, Published Before and After the Fall of the Wall in 1989

Gabriele Eckart

Abstract


This essay examines different literary portrayals of the late 1950s in the GDR in texts of Anna Seghers, Christoph Hein, and Wolfgang Hilbig. While in Seghers’ narrative Vierzig Jahre der Margarete Wolf, published in 1957, the GDR of this time is shown as the embodiment of the utopia of a classless and truly democratic society, in her Der gerechte Richter, published after the Fall of the Wall, the GDR of the late 1950s is portrayed as a Stalinist society whose leaders are betraying the ideas of humanism and justice.  Christoph Hein in his literary depiction of the late 1950s in the GDR in the novel Horns Ende (1985) points to a severe lack of political justice in that country.  Wolfgang Hilbig in the narrative Der Brief (1985) shows convincingly that not only political justice, but also social justice was lacking there.

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New Readings — ISSN: 13597485

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Published by: Cardiff School of Modern Languages