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Music, the GDR military and the GDR today in the works of Walter Flegel

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This article analyses music in two novels by Walter Flegel from the 1980s set in the GDR army. Flegel shows a diverse range of music involved in the everyday life of the armed forces, and this music exemplifies the way in which characters develop identities in dialogue with both official and popular culture. Classical, folk and rock styles form part of individuals’ self-expression, but also integrate them into the military institution. Flegel’s writing highlights the ongoing importance of socialist realism in the 1980s, and the multiple musical styles he presents offer a model for approaching the late GDR that does justice to the simultaneity and mutual influence that existed between varying and even contradictory styles and movements. This analysis builds on recent trends in GDR studies to rehabilitate socialist realism, while suggesting that official and institutional culture continued to influence individual identities and even popular culture into the late 1980s.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe GDR Today
Subtitle of host publicationNew Interdisciplinary Approaches to East German History, Memory and Culture
EditorsStephan Ehrig, Marcel Thomas, David Zell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
ISBN (Print)9781787070721
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Modern German and Austrian Literature
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Print)2235-3488

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ID: 253076766