Analyzing Peter Weiss 'Die Ermittlung'

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A German degree emphasises the symbiotic nature of language and culture, a language both relies on culture and is influenced by culture, for this reason I wish to read German at an undergraduate level, not just to be able to understand and express German, but to understand the social, cultural and political elements of a society that knowledge of a language unlocks. A key focus of my wider reading has been on the post war play “Die Ermittlung” by Peter Weiss. The linguistic devices of the play, namely Weiss’ employment of the Verfremdungseffekt and the relationship created between the play and Dante’s Divine Comedy, with each ‘canto’ of the play being analogous to a circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno, allow Weiss to express not only the horrors of the Holocaust in a manner which is deeply thought provoking, but also to draw attention to his belief that many Germans had distanced themselves from those horrors. Whilst initially I found such a complex text difficult to appreciate in German, upon completing the text I gained a new appreciation for literature as a means to provoke critical thought about such an emotive subject, by offering a perspective which cannot be provided through raw academic study of a subject.…show more content…
I began by reading material by Mary Fulbrook at University College London firstly “Anatomy of a Dictatorship” followed by “The People’s State”. I found the first very useful as an introduction to the state itself and its various aspects and intricacies, the second was an excellent introduction to the mind-set of the inhabitants of the GDR, offering an account of ordinary life in the country. Following this I decided I wanted to focus on the development of technology in the GDR, as a result I chose this topic for my Extended Project
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