On Anna Seghers' acceptance of China in the 1920s and 1930s

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Xiaojin Wei


Anna Seghers is a famous German anti – fascist writer in the 20th century and a famous proletarian revolutionary fighter, her work is notable for exploring and depicting the moral experience of the Second World War. Born into a Jewish family and married to a Hungarian Communist, Seghers escaped Nazi – controlled territory through wartime France. She returned to Europe after the war, living in West Berlin (1947–50), which was occupied by Allied forces. She eventually settled in the German Democratic Republic, where she worked on cultural and peace issues. She received numerous awards and in 1967 was nominated for the Nobel Prize by the GDR.

Throughout the life of Seghers, whether she studied Sinology in Heidelberg and Cologne in her youth, or joined the the Communist International and paid close attention to the revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party of China, China's influence on her was manifold. As we can see, there are many descriptions of China in her works. Although she never visited China in the 1920s and 1930s, we can still feel her interest in the Chinese revolution in her work. The communicating across cultures has a two – way influence. On the one hand, we can clearly see her acceptance of China, whether it is the traditional Chinese ideology and culture or the creative inspiration brought by the Chinese revolutionary movement. On the other hand, when we read the literature of Segers, we see China a hundred years ago and the proletarian revolutionary movement in China. In this way, we can see ourselves through the eyes of the other, adding a different perspective to this great history.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Mutual Learning among Civilizations through Comparative Literature