Hans Sahl : Leben und Werk / by Erich Wolfgang Skwara
Includes bibliographical references (p. 291-332)
This study, written as a doctoral dissertation at the State University of New York at Albany, is a publication long overdue. It attempts to create a first detailed and comprehensive picture of the author, critic and translator Hans Sahl, one of the most influential and interesting figures within the German speaking Emigration during the Third Reich. Political prejudice and unwillingness to cope honestly with the past have, for many years, prevented this account of Sahl's life from being written. The author, in the years of the Weimar Republic a prominent literary critic in Berlin, then Germany's capital, was born in 1902 and left his country in 1933 when Hitler came to power. As a political refugee, he spent time in Prague, in Amsterdam, in Zurich and then in Paris, where he was interned by the Vichy Government as an "enemy alien" in 1939. Without the smallest chance or hope of being published, he continued writing even in those life-threatening times. He eventually managed to escape and to reach Marseille where he became an important member of Varian Fry's "Emergency Rescue Committee", before emigrating to the USA in 1941. Hans Sahl is still alive and a resident of New York City. He translated, besides writing his own works, very important plays by eminent American playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller, into German, becoming thus a major mediator between the cultures of his old and his new homelands. Hans Sahl is still writing today, in 1985, and has published many works, both in prose and in poetry. He is considered to be one of the prominent writers of German living abroad, and one of the last witnesses alive and qualified to speak out on the difficult years of Emigration and the resistance against Hilter's regime. This present book, besides offering a scientific look at this author's biography and literary contribution, places Hans Sahl within the context of his time, in which he is an eminent critic and moral force. To write about Hans Sahl is to describe, at the same time, the literary, political, and cultural history of our era.
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