Samuel Thompson (KCL) - 2017-18 Students

The Reception of the Classics in German Exile Literature

My research will propose a fresh evaluation of the reception of the Classics in German anti-fascist literature. Through an interdisciplinary approach, I shall examine the complex and varied allusions to ancient sources in exile texts, and comparative analysis will highlight the simultaneously dynamic and ambiguous intertextuality between ancient and modern. I seek to demonstrate the role of the Classics as a cultural battleground in the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on the opposition between Nazi misappropriation of antiquity and the German émigrés’ appeal to traditions of exile writing and counter-culture. In so doing, I seek to extend existing scholarship on the self-perception of German exiles and their response to the exempla of history, myth and literature. By emphasising the rich and productive overlaps between exile literature and the Classics, I aim also to further the dialogue between the two fields. Among others, my research will consider the exile works of Brecht, Broch, Feuchtwanger, Mann, Seghers and Zweig.

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