German Literature, Year Zero: Writers and Politics, 1945–1953
journal contributionposted on 01.01.1997, 00:00 by Stephen BrockmannStephen Brockmann
In Serbian writer Milorad Pavic's novel Landscape Painted With Tea, one character, referring to the situation of the younger generation in Germany after 1945, suggests that because of the older generation's complete bankruptcy, the younger generation is in a position to dominate and control German culture for many decades to come. In Germany, according to Pavic's character, who is advising a member of the younger generation on where it is best to live, "they'll be looking for younger people, who bear no responsibility for the defeat; the generation of fathers has lost the game there; there it's your generation's move."1 Controversial German historian Ernst Nolte has likewise suggested that the memory of Germany's "Third Reich" is being used for moral and political purposes by a younger genera-tion "in the age-old battle with 'their fathers.'"2 The American literary scholar Harold Bloom has sought to describe literary progress itself as a kind of primal Freudian scene in which a younger generation is constantly seeking, metaphorically, to "kill" its fathers and to escape from what Bloom called the "anxiety of influence."3 Of course Bloom knew very well that such an escape was impossible.