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"Völkisch" Writers and National Socialism

A Study of Right-Wing Political Culture in Germany, 1890–1960


Guy Tourlamain

This book provides a view of literary life under the Nazis, highlighting the ambiguities, rivalries and conflicts that determined the cultural climate of that period and beyond. Focusing on a group of writers – in particular, Hans Grimm, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer, Wilhelm Schäfer, Emil Strauß, Börries Freiherr von Münchhausen and Rudolf Binding – it examines the continuities in völkisch-nationalist thought in Germany from c. 1890 into the post-war period and the ways in which völkisch-nationalists identified themselves in opposition to four successive German regimes: the Kaiserreich, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich and the Federal Republic. Although their work predated Hitler’s National Socialist movement, their contribution to preparing the cultural climate for the rise of Nazism ensured them continued prominence in the Third Reich. Those who survived into the post-war era continued to represent the völkisch-nationalist worldview in the West German public sphere, opposing both the Soviet and liberal-democratic models for Germany’s future. While not uncontroversial, they were able to achieve significant publishing success, suggesting that a demand existed for their works among the German public, stimulating debate about the nature of the recent past and its effect on Germany’s cultural and political identity and position in the world.
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This series promotes inquiry into the relationship between literary texts and their cultural and intellectual contexts, in theoretical, interpretative and historical perspectives. It has developed out of a research initiative of the German Department at Cambridge University, but its focus of interest is on the European tradition broadly perceived. Its purpose is to encourage comparative and interdisciplinary research into the connections between cultural history and the literary imagination generally.

The editors are especially concerned to encourage the investigation of the role of the literary imagination in cultural history and the interpretation of cultural history through the literary text. Examples of the kind of issues in which they are particularly interested include the following:

– The material conditions of culture and their representation in literature, e.g. responses to the impact of the sciences, technology, and industrialisation, the confrontation of ‘high’ culture with popular culture, and the impact of new media;

– The construction of cultural meaning through literary texts, e.g. responses to cultural crisis, or paradigm shifts in cultural self-perception, including the establishment of cultural ‘foundation myths’;

– History and cultural memory as mediated through the metaphors and models deployed in literary writing and other media;

– The intermedial and intercultural practice of authors or literary movements in specific periods;

– The methodology of cultural inquiry and the theoretical discussion of such issues as intermediality, text as a medium of cultural memory, and intercultural relations.

Both theoretical reflection on and empirical investigation of these issues are welcome. The series is intended to include monographs, editions, and collections of papers based on recent research in this area. The main language of publication is English.

Vol. 1Christian Emden & David Midgley (eds): Cultural Memory and Historical Consciousness in the German-Speaking World Since 1500. Papers from the Conference ‘The Fragile Tradition’, Cambridge 2002. Vol. 1.

316 pp., 2004. ISBN 3-03910-160-9 / US-ISBN 0-8204-6970-X
Vol. 2Christian Emden & David Midgley (eds): German Literature, History and the Nation. Papers from the Conference ‘The Fragile Tradition’, Cambridge 2002. Vol. 2.

393 pp., 2004. ISBN 3-03910-169-2 / US-ISBN 0-8204-6979-3
Vol. 3Christian Emden & David Midgley (eds): Science, Technology and the German Cultural Imagination. Papers from the Conference ‘The Fragile Tradition’, Cambridge 2002. Vol. 3.

319 pp., 2005. ISBN 3-03910-170-6 / US-ISBN 0-8204-6980-7
Vol. 4Anthony Fothergill: Secret Sharers. Joseph Conrad’s Cultural Reception in Germany.

274 pp., 2006. ISBN 3-03910-271-0 / US-ISBN 0-8204-7200-X
Vol. 5Silke Arnold-de Simine (ed.): Memory Traces. 1989 and the Question of German Cultural Identity.

343 pp., 2005. ISBN 3-03910-297-4 / US-ISBN 0-8204-7223-9
Vol. 6Renata Tyszczuk: In Hope of a Better Age. Stanislas Leszczynski in Lorraine 1737-1766.

410 pp., 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-324-9
Vol. 7Christian Emden, Catherine Keen & David Midgley (eds): Imagining the City, Volume 1. The Art of Urban Living.

344 pp., 2006. ISBN 3-03910-532-9 / US-ISBN 0-8204-7536-X
Vol. 8Christian Emden, Catherine Keen & David Midgley (eds): Imagining the City, Volume 2. The Politics of Urban Space.

383 pp., 2006. ISBN 3-03910-533-7 / US-ISBN 0-8204-7537-8
Vol. 9Christian J. Emden and Gabriele Rippl (eds): ImageScapes. Studies in Intermediality.

289 pp., 2010. ISBN 978-3-03910-573-1
Vol. 10Alasdair King: Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Writing, Media, Democracy.

357 pp., 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-902-9
Vol. 11Ulrike Zitzlsperger: ZeitGeschichten: Die Berliner Übergangsjahre. Zur Verortung der Stadt nach der Mauer.

241 pp., 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-087-2
Vol. 12Alexandra Kolb: Performing Femininity. Dance and Literature in German Modernism.

330pp., 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-351-4
Vol. 13Carlo Salzani: Constellations of Reading. Walter Benjamin in Figures of Actuality.

388pp., 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-860-1
Vol. 14Monique Rinere: Transformations of the German Novel. Simplicissimus in Eighteenth-Century Adaptations.

273pp., 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-896-0
Vol. 15Katharina Hall and Kathryn N. Jones (eds): Constructions of Conflict. Transmitting Memories of the Past in European Historiography, Culture and Media.

282pp., 2011. ISBN 978-3-03911-923-3
Vol. 16Ingo Cornils and Sarah Waters (eds): Memories of 1968. International Perspectives.

396pp., 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-931-8
Vol. 17Anna O’ Driscoll: Constructions of Melancholy in Contemporary German and Austrian Literature.

263pp., 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0733-8
Vol. 18Martin Modlinger and Philipp Sonntag (eds): Other People’s Pain. Narratives of Trauma and the Question of Ethics.

252pp., 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0260-9
Vol. 19Ian Cooper and Bernhard F. Malkmus (eds): Dialectic and Paradox. Configurations of the Third in Modernity.

265pp., 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0714-7
Vol. 20Kristina Mendicino and Betiel Wasihun (eds): Playing False. Representations of Betrayal.

355pp., 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0867-0
Vol. 21Guy Tourlamain: Völkisch Writers and National Socialism. A Study of Right-Wing Political Culture in Germany, 1890–1960.

394pp., 2014. ISBN 978-3-03911-958-5