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Weimar ThoughtA Contested Legacy$
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Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691135106

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691135106.001.0001

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Writers and Politics in the Weimar Republic

Writers and Politics in the Weimar Republic

(p.220) 11 Writers and Politics in the Weimar Republic
Weimar Thought

Karin Gunnemann

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a literary and historical glimpse into the political fortunes of the great writers and novelists of the Weimar era, focusing on Kurt Tucholsky, Alfred Döblin, and the brothers Thomas and Heinrich Mann. Tucholsky (1890–1935) was foremost a polemical political journalist, a humorist, and a writer of satiric poetry for the cabarets of Berlin. No ills of the Republic escaped his witty scrutiny, but when the Republic failed he ended his life in despair. Heinrich Mann (1871–1950) was both a prolific writer of fiction and one of Germany's leading political essayists. In response to the cultural changes of the twenties, he developed a new aesthetic for fiction that helped him preserve his utopian ideal of a democratic Germany. Döblin (1878–1957) expressed his criticism of post-war German society with greatest success in Berlin Alexanderplatz. Thomas Mann (1875–1955) is a representative of those writers who had great difficulty in moving away from their aesthetic and autonomous view of literature to a more “democratic” way of writing.

Keywords:   Weimar Republic, Kurt Tucholsky, Alfred Döblin, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann

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