Trauma and Guilt: Literature of Wartime Bombing in Germany

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This book analyzes postwar literary works on large area bombings of German cities both in the context of trauma theory and questions of guilt and shame about Germany's Nazi past, embedding the recent debate surrounding the air war of World War II and its influence on German culture in a broader historical, societal, and psychological context.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Vees-Guilinai has made a useful, insightful, and welcome contribution to the critical debate."Scott Denham in: H-Net Reviews 2005
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783110178081
  • Publisher: De Gruyter, Walter, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/10/2003
  • Pages: 217
  • Product dimensions: 62.50 (w) x 90.00 (h) x 7.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Susanne Vees-Gulani teaches at the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Trauma and Its Consequences 11
2.1 A History of Trauma Psychology 11
2.2 Trauma Studies in the Humanities 18
2.3 What Is Trauma? 25
2.4 Literary Production and Trauma Therapy 30
3 Confronting the Past? The Role of Guilt and Shame in Postwar Germany 39
3.1 The End of the War: Facing Complete Destruction 39
3.2 Constructing a Past and a Future: The Adenauer Era 45
3.3 Constructing a German Identity Before and After Unification 51
4 The View from Within: The Air War in German Writing 69
4.1 Early Reactions: Hans Erich Nossack, Wolfgang Borchert, and Gert Ledig 70
4.2 Mosaics of Horror: Alexander Kluge and Walter Kempowski 93
4.3 The Individual, Trauma and History: Dieter Forte 109
4.4 W. G. Sebald and the Air War-Taboo 120
5 A Welcome Catastrophe: Jewish-German Voices 131
5.1 Werner Schmidt 131
5.2 Victor Klemperer 134
5.3 Wolf Biermann 142
5.4 Gunter Kunert 150
6 International Reactions to the Bombings 161
6.1 Kurt Vonnegut 161
6.2 Harry Mulisch 172
6.3 Henri Coulonges 185
7 Conclusion 191
Works Cited 196
Index 213
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