by Mererid Puw Davies
University College London, 2023
Paper: 978-1-78735-288-9 | Cloth: 978-1-78735-289-6

An examination of the largely forgotten anti-war writing from West Germany spurred by the Vietnam War.
Though the Vietnam War did not directly involve West Germany, it was nonetheless a decisive catalyst for the era’s wider protest movements in that country, and it gave rise to an ardent anti-war discourse. Poetry and poetic writing were key to anti-war work. Hundreds of poems and related writings about Vietnam circulated in West Germany, yet they are almost entirely forgotten today. Poetic Writing and the Vietnam War in West Germany uncovers and explores some of that rich artistic production in order to present a new history of engaged poetic writing in West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s and to draw out distinctive characteristics of wider protest culture. In doing so, it makes the case for attending to marginal, non-canonical, or neglected literary and cultural forms, and for critical thinking about why they might, over time, have been obscured. The book also offers a case study for reflection on the representation of war, on ways in which German oppositional culture could imagine its others, and on the relationship of poetry to the historical world.

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