Twenty-first Century Approaches (2000-2012) from the University of Vigo (Spain)
Edited By Veljka Ruzicka Kenfel
Social Values in Children’s Literature of the GDR in the 1970s and 80s: A Study of Three Works
Children’s and Youth Literature is a genre that resists definition. Also in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), there did not exist a general definition of Children’s and Youth Literature. Instead, authors, publishing companies, politicians and critics in the GDR struggled to find the perfect Socialist way of writing for children and adolescents, but quite often disagreed about literary content and quality. It was the epoch of Socialist Realism1, the Marxist-Leninist style, that should be the design pattern for art in general in all Socialistic countries. Representatives of the GDR period for literary criticism in general or for historiography were, for example, Geerdts (1971 GDR2) and Zacharias/Reinelt (1978 GDR). Critics who concentrate on Children’s and Youth Literature are Richter (GDR 1988), Wallesch (1977 GDR) and Emmrich (1981 GDR).3
The literature of the GDR shows aspects of special artistic outlining: First, the GDR promoted its literature as “Socialistic”, following the principles of an artificially established codex for artists, i.e. the “Socialist Realism”, which was strongly influenced by the Soviet Union’s regime during the occupation before 1949. The Socialist Realism constituted the guideline for work until the 1980s. Concerning GDR literature as field of study, researchers treat with a quite closed system in time, space and socio-political context.
Second, in the GDR, the amount of new book releases was pushed and in every possible way. Actually, the number of annual book releases and sold copies was much higher...
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