'Re-reading East Germany’: The Literature and Film of the GDR


The project brings together distinguished scholars from the UK, USA Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, all of whom have established reputations in the field. Fresh readings of many of the major GDR authors who continue to be widely read are integrated with critical overviews of the development of the different genres (film, poetry, drama, prose). But, in addition, the project sets out to present a chronological overview of the development of the GDR: from the beginnings out the war-rubble to the radical dissolution of the late 1980s. Within that broader arc, individual chapters home in on key debates or historical flashpoints and situate them in their literary and political context. Finally: key contextual information is offered in chapters on autobiography, on gender, on cultural opposition, the underground, and the ‘Stasi’; cumulatively, it is hoped, carving out what is the distinctive contribution of GDR authors and filmmakers to the larger sense of German literature today. The project will be rounded off by a view from 2009 – twenty years after the fall of the socialist state – which will examine the way the GDR is remembered and reconstructed in retrospect and the way its literature, before or after 1989, has been embraced by the new Germany and beyond. Versions of papers from the symposium will appear in Re-reading East Germany: The Literature and Film of the GDR (1949-2009), ed. by Karen Leeder, to be published with CUP in 2012.

Click on the links to the right to view speakers' abstracts or download all abstracts (pdf) from the downloads area to the right.