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Visions and revisions : the poetic world of Peter Huchel

The discovery of much biblio~raphical and biographical data has necessitated a fundamental reappraisal of Peter Huchel's life and work. In line with Huchel's own statements, it has been generally assumed that he was brought up on his !grandfather's farm in the Brandenburg village of Alt-Langerwisch and that this rural upbringing was of vital importance for the poet's development. He was, however, brought up by his natural parents in Berlin-Lichterfelde. In the wholesale repression of his urban upbrin~ing in favour of a mythical, idyllic childhood there is to be located the reason for his compulsion to write 8S he did as well as the key to the understanding of further distortions in the presentation of his life and work. Adopting a chronological approach, th~s thesis explores the interface between the mythical self, expressed in the poetry and biographical statements, and the historical, cultural and domestic context in which the myth was invented and expanded upon in the pre- and post-war periods. Huchel modified the mythical self according to the situation, be it the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the G.D.R. or the Federal Republic. Alterations include the pre-dating of poems in the post-war period to imply an anti-fascist stance, the insertion of a social dimension into earlier poems when in the G.D.R. to convey the impression of continuity from Weimar into the G.D.R. as well as the subsequent removal of some such elements for Western consumption. These alterations are accompanied by corresponding modifications in his biography. The adopted' approach reveals Huchel to have been a neo-romantic, non- (not anti-) fascist author throughout his literary career in Germany, which continued virtually without interruption from the mid-twenties until his death in 1981. Huchel's inability to free himself from his neo-romantic beginnings, with which his mythical identity was inextricably linked, made him ~strangely anachronistic figure in the post-war period. His late'prominence in the West was in fact in large measure due to sympathy for the deposed editor of the G.D.R. literary magazine, Sinn und Form, and not to any reputation already established through his poetry. Huchel's career is ultimately of interest as a phenomenon in recent German literary history rather than as an expression of artistic and psychological finesse on his part.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:488037
Date January 1983
CreatorsParker, S. R.
PublisherUniversity of Manchester
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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