“Jetzt stocke ich in zwei Zungen” – The Influence of Exile and Travel on Themes, Language and Literary Style in the Writings of Members of Das Jüngste Deutschland

Lindeiner-Stráský, Karina (2009). “Jetzt stocke ich in zwei Zungen” – The Influence of Exile and Travel on Themes, Language and Literary Style in the Writings of Members of Das Jüngste Deutschland. In: Evelein, Johannes F. ed. Exile Traveling: Exploring Displacement, Crossing Boundaries in German Exile Arts and Writings 1933-1945. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 347–367.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789042028760_021

Abstract

This study investigates thematic, linguistic, and stylistic effects of travel and exile on young writers. It looks in detail at the writings of three members of the Weimar Republic group Das Jüngste Deutschland. Klaus Mann, Peter Mendelssohn, and Herbert Schlüter are examples of young writers whose literary careers were profoundly influenced by their emigration, the politicization of their lives, and the loss of their native audience. The study first establishes common thematic and stylistic features in the writers’ pre-exile works. It then traces their literary developments after 1933, in particular the introduction of the theme of travel and the politicization of their writings. This thematic expansion led to considerable stylistic changes, which are explored subsequently. Mann, Mendelssohn, and Schlüter, it appears, do not fit in at all with the common derogatory prejudice of simplistic, stylistically uninteresting literature in exile. Instead, this essay shows that the authors introduced a number of new narrative, linguistic, and structural changes in order to meet both the challenges of life abroad and the aims of writing in exile.

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