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Searching for a New German Identity

Heiner Müller and the "Geschichtsdrama</I>

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Theresa M. Ganter

This book investigates Heiner Müller’s use of the Geschichtsdrama as a tool in his search for post-World War II and post-reunification German identity in Germania Tod in Berlin (1956/1971) and Germania 3 Gespenster am Toten Mann (1996), respectively. By using specific examples organized into relevant categories, the author demonstrates not only how these historical, allegorical, and political persons and events have affected the course of German history in Müller’s opinion, but also how he believes they have influenced German identity of the past and present and may affect its future. In her analyses of these two dramas, the author explores the many historical, political, and allegorical characters as well as the abundant intertextual references by locating their original sources in order to explain their significance as each relates to Müller’s perception of German identity at various points in time. The research focuses on Müller’s use of the literary techniques of intertextuality, collage, metaphors, allegorical figures, political songs, ballads, and fairy tales. The methodological approach is eclectic: a mixture of New Criticism, New Historicism, and Rezeptionsästhetik.
Contents: Heiner Müller and German Identity – German History and Politics – Rosa Luxemburg and German Communism – Hitler and World War II – Stalin and Stalingrad – The Berlin Wall: FRG vs. GDR – German Reunification – Geschichtsdramen: Germania Tod in Berlin - Germania 3 Gespenster am Toten Mann.