Ute Brandes

Research Interests

My interests are in German and European literature, culture, and politics from the seventeenth-century until today. My specialization is in narrative theory. I first published on modernist writing techniques in East German literature of the 1970s. Then I explored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century German literary life and letters, in courtly representation, in literary and religious circles, and in salons. I also worked on utopias in German literature and on literary contributions of various eighteenth-century German women writers.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, I returned to contemporary questions: What long-term impact can be attributed to the diverse literary, political, and cultural concerns raised in East and West Germany? I explored the culture of the two postwar German states, writing a monograph each on two representative German authors: Günter Grass and Anna Seghers. My research for the Seghers book generated a fascination with this innovative modernist writer and German Jew who chose to settle in East Berlin after returning from her exile in Mexico. I have researched unpublished materials in several archives in Berlin, focusing on Seghers's literary response to severe political crises in the mid-1950s and 1960s. I recently published the second of two volumes for the critical work edition of Anna Seghers, a 25-volume, international scholarly project published by Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin. I have now returned to my research-in-progress for a book, "Anna Seghers in America" (working title).

Selected Publications:

Anna Seghers Werkausgabe. Das erzählerische Werk 1950-1957, II/4. Berlin, Aufbau-Verlag, 2009.
Anna Seghers Werkausgabe. Das erzählerische Werk 1958-1966, II/5. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 2007.
Günter Grass. Berlin: Morgenbuchverlag Volker Spiess, 1998.
Anna Seghers. Berlin: Colloquium, 1992.
Zwischen Gestern und Morgen: Schriftstellerinnen der DDR aus amerikanischer Sicht. Berlin: Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1992.
Zitat und Montage in der neueren DDR-Prosa. Frankfurt/M.: Lang, 1984.
Selected Articles:

"Anna Seghers' Politics of Affirmation." In Anna Seghers in Perspective. Ed. Ian Wallace. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998, 175–197.
"Between Utopia and Party Doctrine: Anna Seghers in the 1950s." In Gegenwartsbewältigung – Coming to Terms with the Present. Ed. Patricia Anne Simpson. Michigan German Studies 21 (1998), 139–149.
"Auf dem Weg zu Anna Seghers. Biographie als Annäherung." In Argonautenschiff 4 (1995), 267–271.

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