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The major works of Erich Loest 1950-1985

posted on 2010-11-22, 16:23 authored by Patricia E. Buckley
The aim of this thesis is to contribute to existing research on individual GDR authors by providing the first in-depth study of Erich Loest's life and work in any language. The study divides Loest's life and works into three parts, the divisions corresponding to what Loest regards as the most prominent milestones in his life. The first period, 1950-57, covers Loest's phase as a socialist realist writer in post-war Germany. Analysis of his work during this period shows how Loest was keen to display his commitment to the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the GDR, by adhering strictly to the principles of socialist realism as laid down by the SED. The second stage of Loest's career is marked by his release from Bautzen prison where he had served seven years for alleged counter-revolutionary activities. His post-Bautzen works are characterised by growing concern for the rights of the individual as opposed to the welfare of the state as a whole. The final section of this study deals with those works published since Loest's move to the West in 1981, since when he has largely continued to rely on his knowledge of the GDR as the basis of his novels. In investigating these three phases I shall argue that Loest is a writer who deserves to be included in any analysis of the evolution of GDR literature, if only because his career as a writer began in 1950 just after the founding of the state, and thus bears eloquent witness to the development of GDR literature and society over a period of more than thirty years. As part of this study an interview was conducted with Loest at his home in Bad Godesberg in order to obtain further information, particularly regarding his earlier works, which are largely unknown in the West. The conclusion of the study is that the novels Es geht seinen Gang and Volkerschlachtdenkmal, represent Loest's greatest achievements.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Patricia E. Buckley

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. If you are the author of this thesis and would like to make it openly available in the Institutional Repository please contact: repository@lboro.ac.uk

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  • en

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