The German Institute for literature Leipzig (DLL) is not any of the writing school in the German-speaking countries. It has a GDR-history, was founded in 1955 and trained as an “Institute for literature Johannes R. Becher” socialist writer – following the example of the Moscow Maxim Gorky Institute. Isabelle Lehn, Sascha Power, and Katja Stopka explored the “learning to Write in socialism” for their eponymous study by wallstein-Verlag. Six questions for the author team:
the WORLD: those Who Write learned in socialism? There are statistics for the social origin of the students?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: In the year that is broken down, who was a member of the workforce or of the intelligence reports to the Ministry of culture of the GDR. At times, the Institute saw itself in the obligation to meet admission quotas for workers. All in all, there was some mixing: SED cadres and soldiers of the NVA studied there, as well as construction soldiers. Important for the absorption of literary Talent and a completed vocational training. Political reliability was playing on the edge of a role.
the WORLD: How it was organized the training? Is Writing teachable? You asked this question?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: The question was put very well and also always be re-discussed. The curriculum was designed with Lectures on theory of literature, philosophy and the history of literature as well as practical seminars on prose, poetry, drama, stylistics, and literary criticism, to enable students “to achieve literary mastery”, as the founding Director Alfred Kurella said. Few prominent graduates such as Werner Bräunig, Angela Krauß, Katja Lange-Müller and Thomas rose holes a large number of graduate students who have published after the end of their studies, little to no literature.
the WORLD: To the Curriculum, operations in the LPG or in large companies belong to?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: The students were encouraged to take their experiences in the Form of diary-like placement record reports. They made portraits of the working people, and organized readings of their own texts. While some praise on the socialist worker wrote, reflected the other, the defective conditions in the premises or the increasing pollution in a literary way.
the WORLD: What is the role the Stasi played?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: Unofficial employees among teachers and students. The control remained limited. Political conflicts were often fought directly between the Institute management and the Ministry of culture. A certain amount of interference in enrollment decisions or personnel policy but is not dismissed out of Hand. The study of everyday life IN the rather less. influenced There were also open spaces, in which, without fear of reprisal could be debated in the seminars of the poetry Professor Georg Maurer or of the faculty of world literature Gerhard Rothbauer.
the WORLD: One of the objectives of the study was to explore not only cultural and political constraints, but also Aesthetics. There are the typical GDR-Institut prose?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: The Institute resulting literature is aesthetically very heterogeneous, ranging from socialist construction, prose and party near use poetry to poetic-subjective everyday descriptions and imaginative clashes with the reality of life in the GDR. The speech of a typical GDR-Institut prose engages, therefore, as brief as the allegation that today’s writing schools, the only craft would be perfect, but empty literature.
the WORLD: What the socialist writers College of Creative Writing academies in the West the difference?
Lehn/Power/Stopka: The Institute was founded with the ideological goal of socialist writers, which had contribute to the development and preservation of socialism in the GDR. This proviso was a part of the curriculum with his Lectures on Marxism-Leninism or Scientific communism. In addition, there were, as at today’s Creative-Writing academies, practical seminars on prose, poetry and drama, which had a workshop character and the study of works of world literature, as well as the aesthetic mediation of the literary letter in the centre advanced.