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This book is intended both as an introduction for the general reader and as a resource for the specialist. It contains a tribute to Jurek Becker specially written for this volume by his friend and colleague Peter Schneider, together with a revealing interview and a tabular biographical outline. The contributions on varying aspects of Becker's work are complemented by the fullest bibliography to date of both primary and secondary works. Jurek Becker was a rare figure in German literature in more than one way. As an Auschwitz survivor of Jewish origins he was one of the few German writers able to take a victim's perspective on the Holocaust, most famously in his first novel Jakob der Lugner, a world-wide success. As a GDR writer who came into conflict with the authorities despite a life-long commitment to socialism he was in the peculiar position of being allowed to live in the West while retaining his GDR visa. His work remains as a landmark of that state, with novels such as Bronsteins Kinder treating the problem of post-war Jewish identity and the legacy of National Socialism within a GDR setting. As a novelist Becker achieved the unusual feat of both critical and commercial success, but it was as a writer of television screenplays that he achieved his greatest fame. Series like Liebling Kreuzberg and Wir sind auch nur ein Volk were not only watched by millions but also, in the latter case, encapsulated the problems Germany faces in reconciling itself to the consequences of unification. Jurek Becker's untimely death in March 1997 deprived German literature of an irreplaceable figure who belongs, as Peter Schneider asserts in this volume, to one of only a small number of German writers of his generation who will be remembered a century hence.
Colin Riordan is a British academic who has been President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University since 1 September 2012.
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- ID: 9780708314562
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