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The Democratic Dream: Stefan Heym in America


Regina U. Hahn

As the young editor of the New York based Deutsches Volksecho, Stefan Heym had to reconcile his responsibility as a journalist with his personal animosity towards the Nazi State and the disillusionment felt by exiles during the Great Depression. The result of this reconciliation, which drew upon his experience as a writer in pre World War II Germany and the democratic ideals of his newly adopted country, was a philosophy of democracy, citizenship and public debate that guided Heym’s literary and political activities through the rest of his life.
Identifying this philosophy as a precursor to Habermas’ theory of the public sphere, The Democratic Dream traces the development of Heym’s beliefs through his writings at the Deutsches Volksecho and its further evolution through Heym’s early American novels: Hostages, The Crusaders and Goldsborough.
Contents: Stefan Heym: Hostages, The Crusaders, Goldsborough – German Exile Literature – Antifascists in the U.S. – Participatory democracy and the public sphere – Deutsches Volksecho – Antifascist German Americans.