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The Skin of the SystemOn Germany's Socialist Modernity$
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Benjamin Robinson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762472

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762472.001.0001

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Diabolical Transformations: A Necessary Comrade

Diabolical Transformations: A Necessary Comrade

(p.103) Chapter Four Diabolical Transformations: A Necessary Comrade
The Skin of the System
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the work, biography, and institutional commitments of Franz Fühmann, including his experience reading Georg Trakl as a fascist Wehrmacht soldier in the 1940s, his antifascist re-education in prison camp, and his desperate fight against his own sarcasm and self-destructive rage in the face of East Germany's growing institutional absurdity in the 1970s and 1980s. It views Fühmann not only as both a part of socialism to be explained, but also as a singularly telling explicator of socialist phenomena. The chapter places Fühmann's work into a broader context of literary modernism and provides an overview of his oeuvre, with an emphasis on his travel journal Twenty-two Days, or Half a Lifetime. It also explores the sequence of ruptures in Fühmann's selfhood based on his highly conceptualized perception of the challenge presented by an existential demand for transformation to core subjective needs for boundary and identity.

Keywords:   socialism, Franz Fühmann, Georg Trakl, East Germany, literary modernism, Twenty-two Days, or Half a Lifetime, transformation, travel journal, selfhood

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