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Hans Fallada’s Crisis Novels 1931-1947


Geoff Wilkes

The author of this study analyses five major novels published by Hans Fallada between 1931 and 1947, including bestsellers such as Kleiner Mann – was nun? and comparatively neglected works such as Der Alpdruck. These novels explore significant problems in Weimar, Nazi and post-Nazi society, paying particular attention to the viability of personal values as a response to social problems. The author argues that Fallada’s key concept of individual values is much more ambivalent and more mutable than scholars have yet recognised, that it is particularly influenced by the upheavals of 1933 and 1945, and that it is radically redefined in Fallada’s last work, Jeder stirbt für sich allein. This book offers a close analysis not only of the crisis novels themselves, but also of Fallada’s short stories, essays and letters, many of which have remained unpublished, and which illuminate his major works in ways which have not yet been fully appreciated.
Contents: Fallada’s major novels Kleiner Mann was nun? and Jeder stirbt für sich allein – Literature of the Weimar Republic, Nazi and post-war Germany – Fallada’s archetype of the «little man» – Literature of the Third Reich – Post-1945 literature.