April 25, 2007
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Ute Brandes, a professor of German at Amherst College, has just published the first of a two-volume edition of Anna Seghers’s short stories from 1958 to 1966, in the 25-volume Werkausgabe of Seghers’s literary works (35€, 480 pp., Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 2007).
Anna Seghers was one of the great figures of German modernism and a leading intellectual voice among émigré and postwar writers. As a leftist author and German Jew, she went into exile in 1933, first to France, later to Mexico. In 1942 her antifascist novel, The Seventh Cross, was a bestseller in America. After the war she was widely read in German-speaking countries, and her works were translated into more than 40 languages. Her short stories, newly presented in Brandes’s edition, were written at the height of the Cold War in East Germany, a period notorious for censorship and self-censorship. Brandes’s editing and critical essays focus on restoring the original features of the texts and their variants, on their reception in East and West, and on the aesthetic and political implications of certain narrative strategies which make Seghers’s works richly original.
The 12 stories in this edition include “Brot und Salz,” “Vierzig Jahre der Margarete Wolf,” “Das Licht auf dem Galgen,” the story cycle “Die Kraft der Schwachen” and the posthumous novella “Der gerechte Richter,” first published in 1990.
A member of the Amherst faculty since 1982, Brandes is the author of Günter Grass (1998), Anna Seghers (1992), Zwischen Gestern und Morgen: Schriftstellerinnen der DDR aus amerikanischer Sicht (1992) and Zitat und Montage in der neueren DDR-Prosa (1984). Brandes received a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1982 and a B.A from the University of New Hampshire in 1972.