Erwin Strittmatter in reference to the agarian novel of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This study deals with two aspects of German literature: the agrarian novel from the early nineteenth century to National Socialism, and a comparison of capitalist and socialist ideology, using the works of the DDR author Erwin Strittmatter.
In the first part of the thesis, chosen works are analysed with the aim of establishing a pattern of bourgeois idealism and of tracing its development in reference to the changing historical background. The political implications of the nationalist transformation and radicalisation of the conservative agrarian ideology, which grew up as a middle-class reaction to the emergence of modern industrial Germany, are illustrated by the combination of the heroic and the idyllic in fascist literature.
The second part deals with the socialist agrarian novel, which is discussed, in the light of Marxist theory, as a departure from the conservative model, and in relation to different political ideals and objectives. Three agrarian novels of Erwin Strittmatter Ochsenkutscher, Tinko and Ole Bienkopp - are examined in detail as the basis for contrast with capitalist doctrine and for observations on the role of literature in the DDR.
The concluding chapter illustrates how, in the established East German state of the 1960's, the disregard for the demands of authority, which is a feature of Strittmatter's Ole Bienkopp, indicates a return to the traditional pattern of bourgeois idealism within the confines of socialist morality.