A dubious past : Ernst Jünger and the politics of literature after Nazism / by Elliot Yale Neaman.
The dissertation examines the reception of Ernst Junger in the Federal Republic in terms of "mastering the past," Western Germany's post-war struggles with the memory of fascism and its crisis of identity as a fragmentary nation state from 1945 until 1990. The first chapter offers a biographical portrait of the author's long life (1895- sk10). Junger is represented as a writer whose politics were always contradictory and iconoclastic. He allied himself with the early modernists in Germany, but he also cultivated a conservative, elitist, and classical demeanor. After 1945 he found a constituency among groups ranged all along the political spectrum, and in the 1960s, even radicals, hippies and New Age adherents. The second chapter deals with the writer's "inner circle," and traces the lives and careers of people who got close enough to look behind the aura Junger self-consciously created for public consumption. The third chapter traces the origins of the public Junger controversy as it developed in a series of debates among Germany's postwar intellectuals in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The hypothesis will be considered that Junger's supposedly anti-Nazi novel contained elements of a "fascist style," a factor that helped slip it past the censors and contributed to its tremendous fame in the early 1940s. In chapter four, Junger's literary contribution to the Second World War is critically examined. The focus here centers on his relations to the officers surrounding the Military Commander in Paris at the Hotel Majestic. In chapter five, the focus turns to debates and controversies which attended Junger's published works and his person in the 1950s and 1960s. The figure of Junger represented both a confirmation of and challenge to the status quo of the so-called "Restoration Years." In the final chapter, the relationship between politics and literature is brought into focus by taking into our sights the series of public acts of recognition accorded to Junger in his mature years. Of central interest are the events surrounding the bestowal of the Goethe Prize and the attention of important politicians in both France and Germany are of central interest. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
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