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Der Sündenfall

A Parabolic Key to the Image of Human Existence in the Work of Günter Kunert 1960-1990

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Kerry Dunne

The imagery of the Fall recurs in Günter Kunert's poetry and prose during the period 1960-1990. The images relate to the loss of paradise, to the human condition following this loss and to the hope of regaining paradise that emerged with the knowledge of having been exiled. By approaching Kunert's work using the Fall as a unifying element, the relationship of seemingly disparate themes such as death, utopia, sexuality and writing becomes apparent. The Fall imagery is shown to be a parabolic key to Kunert's view of human existence, and of Western civilisation in particular. This study, based on close textual analysis, emphasises the existential nature of Kunert's themes. It is the first systematic study to demonstrate the continuity of Kunert's themes before and after leaving the then GDR.
Contents: Introduction - Fahrt mit der S-Bahn - The human condition - The legacy of human history - An end to the human condition? - Contact with others - Writing and literature - Conclusion.