Disappearing Socialism: Volker Braun's Unvollendete Geschichte
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One aspect of the Cold War’s legacy has slipped from collective memory: the distinctly socialist arguments against the regimes of the East, for instance the GDR.Volker Braun’s 1977 novella Unvollendete Geschichte provides an instructive example of the current invisibility of such socialist arguments. In the West, Unvollendete Geschichte has been read as a straightforward condemnation of an authoritarian state that penalizes individuals on illegitimate grounds. Yet Braun is a committed socialist and criticizes the state not for its violation of the individual’s integrity, but for the suppression of conflict internal to the collective. A historically sensitive reading reveals that Braun seeks to expose the (East German) state as a distorted manifestation of social collaboration, in line with a radical socialist tradition.
CitationNorberg, Jakob (2010). Disappearing Socialism: Volker Braun's Unvollendete Geschichte. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6389.
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Associate Professor of German Studies
Jakob Norberg’s research explores conceptions of community in German thought and literature. His first book, Sociability and Its Enemies (2014), examines the search for non-authoritarian forms of collectivity after the end of the Second World War and focuses on thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, and Jürgen Habermas. His articles in literary studies locate the communal in literature by reconstructing how non-individual, collective voices appear in modern literary wo