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'European Literature' in the Nazi New Order: The Cultural Politics of the European Writers' Union, 1941-3
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History. (KUSKO)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3180-2973
2013 (English)In: Journal of contemporary history, ISSN 0022-0094, E-ISSN 1461-7250, Vol. 48, no 3, 486-508 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the European Writers’ Union, founded by Nazi Germany withrepresentatives of 15 nations in October 1941, in the context of the history of the ideaof European literature. It argues that this institution was a serious effort to re-order theinternational literary field into a European form, designed to help legitimate NaziGermany’s New Order Europe and to establish the cultural hegemony whichGerman elites believed they alone deserved. Aware that what Pierre Bourdieu callsthe ‘literary field’ had its own rules, the Nazis sought at Weimar to legitimate their bidto reorder European literary life by highlighting Germany’s literary capital and by playingon the tensions within the interwar understanding of the concept of European literature.In this way, the European Writers’ Union marked a historically significant interventioninto the contested and high-stakes issue of what ‘European literature’ was.Drawing on work by scholars of comparative literature and cultural sociology, thisarticle sets the Writers’ Union in the transnational history of the literary field intwentieth-century Europe in order to interpret the rhetorical, ideological and practicalstrategies of what could be called the ‘soft power’ of Nazi Empire.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 48, no 3, 486-508 p.
Keyword [en]
cultural politics, European literature, idea of Europe, Nazi New Order, Second World War, writers and intellectuals
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-222080DOI: 10.1177/0022009413481829OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-222080DiVA: diva2:710665
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2014-04-07

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Martin, Benjamin George
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