First Advisor

William B. Fischer

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German






Christa Wolf, Erich Loest



Physical Description

1 online resource (171 p.)


Christa Wolf is perhaps the best known East German author outside the Gennan Democratic Republic. Her works have been translated into many languages, and on her recent sixtieth birthday she was able to look back on an illustrious literary career. Erich Loest's life as an East German writer has been more troublesome, from his years as a young adult on the eastern side of the wall to his life in the Federal Republic since 1981. Both writers have worked under a political system which imposes strict guidelines on its artists, as regards conception and production of their works. Both authors have adhered to, yet also sometimes attempted to stray from these guidelines in the name of artistic freedom, especially during periods of political change, toward more openness. Wolf and Loest both remained true to the political system with and for which they have lived since the conception of the East German state, yet their attempts to participate in the political dialogue have frequently been thwarted. The writers' role in a socialist country can be powerful, for it is their responsibility to translate political ideologies and goals into heroes and plots in their work. Their own political ideas and philosophical backgrounds inevitably come into play in their work, but more prominent are the realities of Kulturpolitik.

In this thesis, I have attempted to illustrate the relationship between the creation of a novel and the plethora of often unpredictable methods of censorship. The authors' own interpretation of their role affects their work, but in East Germany various institutions and organizations try to assure the proper reflection of the party's political and philosophical goals. Censorship begins with the Selbstzensur within the author, and often does not cease even after publication. Along the way, after conception of an idea and the first words on paper, the system tries to impose its agenda on the work, which the author can permit or can try to avoid through various means, which are discussed in this paper.


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This thesis is in German.

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