Anti-Nazi Writers in Exile

Egbert Krispyn


“Krispyn endeavors to do justice to the complex and difficult process of adjustment to exile conditions which most writers had to undergo . . . [This book will] serve a useful function as a lucidly written and factually accurate English-language overview of an important phase in German literary history.”
—Siegfried Mews, South Atlantic Bulletin

“This is the first comprehensive English guide to the German literary Emigration of 1933–1947 that synthetically distills countless primary sources and mountains of recent scholarship into one readable volume. . . . [It] is to be highly recommended to those needing an English introduction to the exiled writers and their political involvement.”
—Thomas S. Hansen, German Quarterly

In contrast to the sometimes overly generous treatment of German writers forced into exile by Hitler’s fascist regime, Anti-Nazi Writers in Exile applies the strict aesthetic and historical standards of literary criticism, putting aside any special pleading for their anti- Nazi political views. This critical approach leads to two important conclusions: that the emigrant writers’ sacrifices and opposition to Hitler’s Germany, however courageous, were ultimately futile and that the literature they produced was largely an aesthetic failure, due in part to the very nature of the exile experience. Anti-Nazi Writers in Exile includes a brief description of literary life in the Third Reich, but then concentrates on the United States as the scene of the exile’s greatest activity after the outbreak of World War II. Krispyn concludes that the exiles’ failure to achieve their political and artistic aims constitutes an important political case history within the larger history of Nazi Germany. Artistic and intellectual activities seem powerless to oppose terror, and the turn of the creative mind to political ends seemingly undermines the aesthetic force of creation.

Page count: 216 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $25.95

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Egbert Krispyn is the author of Style and Society in German Literary Expressionism, Georg Heym: A Reluctant Rebel, and Günter Eich.