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The Berlin Wall

Representations and Perspectives


Ernst Schuerer, Manfred Keune and Philip Jenkins

The collection of essays presented in The Berlin Wall offers reflections on the Berlin Wall (1961-1989) from a wealth of interdisciplinary and international perspectives. The studies of literary and cultural texts - many not easily accessible to the English-speaking public - present the Wall as one of the most powerful phenomena and as a visible and decipherable text of twentieth-century life in the heart of Germany. Literary interpretations, cultural studies, and historical investigations combine to shed light on the «life» of the Wall as a key indicator of the paradoxes, contradictions, and complexities of Germany's history of division. The role of the Berlin Wall in the British espionage novel is investigated, as well as the overt and covert use of literary imagery referring to the Wall by German authors in their poetry, stories, novels, and plays in both the FRG and the GDR. Several essays concentrate on the representation of the Wall in popular culture, in contemporary songs, in the cinema, and even through the graffiti on the Wall itself. The final section focuses on the fall of the Wall and its aftermath. Although physically removed, the Berlin Wall will continue to live on in history and in the pages of this anthology as a symbol of the struggle between the most powerful ideologies of the twentieth century.