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Freedom without Imagination: GDR Literature and its Catastrophe

with Benjamin Robinson, Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at Indiana University and the author of The Skin of the System: On Germany’s Socialist Modernity (2009).

Tue, October 15, 2013 | BUR 337

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Professor Robinson’s talk will survey some striking passages of GDR literature (Fühmann, Wolf, Braun) to establish a common technique that might be related to Menippean satire. 

Menippean satire is a highly intellectualized form of grotesque parody whose protagonist is a type of thought rather than any specific character. The Menippean element of GDR literature highlights its seismographic attention to crisis, and allows us to ask what role crisis (rather than, for example, dissent) plays in politically engaged literature more generally. 


Sponsored by the Department of Germanic Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Texas Language Center, and part of a fall term lecture series “Once Upon A Time in the East.”

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