Circular utopia(s): Alfred Wellm’s Morisco and the socialist city

Ehrig, S. (2023) Circular utopia(s): Alfred Wellm’s Morisco and the socialist city. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 59(1), pp. 123-139. (doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqad008)

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In the context of the German Democratic Republic’s longstanding aesthetic and political discourse on social utopianism, this article will discuss Alfred Wellm’s novel Morisco (1987) and Halle-Neustadt as a key to understanding the relationship between the socialist new town and the East German cultural imaginary. Through Wellm’s novel, the article will argue that the construction of modernist new towns provoked a cultural response engaging with the rift between built reality and the utopian imagination/ambition of the classless, socialist city in different literary and visual media. Evoking Tommaso Campanella’s utopian City of the Sun (1602), the novel critically positions Neustadt within a cyclical Marxist eschatology, simultaneously expressing frustration with and hope for the progress of the socialist project. It therefore also represents the post-Stalin aesthetic shift from grand socialist realist narratives to subjective everyday perspectives, and the revived interest of authors in utopian themes in the 1980s against the backdrop of the Socialist Unity Party’s (SED) claim that socialism had already been achieved.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work on this article was made possible due to research funding provided by the Irish Research Council under Grant number GOIPD/2018/61.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ehrig, Dr Stephan
Authors: Ehrig, S.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Journal Name:Forum for Modern Language Studies
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1471-6860
Published Online:21 February 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author
First Published:First published in Forum for Modern Language Studies 59(1):123–139
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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