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Erwin Strittmatter's "Ole Bienkopp" and the Origins of Political Criticism in GDR Literature

Gregory D. Hanners
Monatshefte
Vol. 87, No. 2 (Summer, 1995), pp. 203-215
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30153411
Page Count: 13
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Erwin Strittmatter's
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Abstract

While long recognized within the, GDR as one of that country's premier writers, Erwin Strittmatter never achieved the same fame in the West, largely for political reasons. Despite this lack of recognition, Strittmatter is a very important figure in GDR literature because of works such as his Ole Bienkopp. This article examines Ole Bienkopp as a pivotal work in the development of a political and socially critical literature in the GDR and highlights the thematic and stylistic characteristics which distinguish Strittmatter's novel from traditional Socialist Realism. The article also connects Strittmatter's thematic and stylistic innovations to subsequent developments in GDR literature and examines the critical reaction within the GDR to the novel in order to assess its significance as part of the GDR's literary tradition.

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