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«Eine Rechnung, die nicht aufgeht»

Identity and Ideology in the Fiction of Wolfdietrich Schnurre


Ian Roberts

Wolfdietrich Schnurre is best known as the writer of deceptively simple post-war Kurzgeschichten, but the truth is far more complex. The tension between the wish to confront personal guilt and the desire to reclaim an ideologically compromised past gave rise to a unique body of work. Schnurre repeatedly returned to a nucleus of autobiographical events, applying to them a range of literary styles and ideologies, in order to lay the past to rest and to rediscover a lost sense of identity. The present study traces his thematic and narrative development throughout a fifty-year literary career, encompassing the collapse of National Socialism, the Cold War and the growing political and economic success of the Federal Republic. Schnurre, as presented here, becomes a representative figure, both of a generation and of a nation's sensibility. His work stands as a fascinating testimony to Germany's struggle with its Nazi past.
Contents: Chapters examining each of Schnurre's short story collections, longer prose fiction and Der Schattenfotograf - Biographical details of Schnurre's activities between 1939-1945 - A previously undiscovered story dating from 1935 is discussed and appended.