Volker Braun

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Volker Braun (left), director Ruth Berghaus (center) and sculptor Wieland Förster in Berlin 1981

Volker Braun (born 7 May 1939 in Dresden) is a German writer. His works include Provokation für mich (Provocation for me) – a collection of poems written between 1959 and 1964 and published in 1965, a play, Die Kipper (The Dumpers) (1972; written 1962–1965), and Das ungezwungne Leben Kasts (The Unrestrained Life of Kast) (1972).

Life[edit]

Volker Braun, who worked in mining and civil engineering after the Abitur before he studied philosophy in Leipzig, occupied himself with the contradictions and hopes in a socialist state. A member of the SED since 1960, he succeeded in publishing his prose and poetry due to the application of his tactical skill.

His work included spoken poems, theatre pieces, novels and stories.

At first his work reflected a critical enthusiasm for the build up of socialism. From 1965 to 1967, Braun worked as an artistic director at the Berliner Ensemble from Helene Weigel's invitation. After the events of the Prague Spring, he occupied himself pulling together criticism of the life in Socialism and the possibility of reform. After that, he would be watched over strongly by the Stasi. Since 1976, Braun worked at the Deutsches Theater Berlin (German Theatre Berlin) and belonged to the artists who signed the petitions against Wolf Biermann's expatriation in 1976. From 1979 he was active again in the Berliner Ensemble. He left the Writer's Union of East Germany in 1982. Nevertheless, he received the Lessing Prize of East Germany in 1981 and the National Prize of East Germany in 1988.

During the Wende, Braun belonged to the supporters of an independent "third way" for East Germany. After the reunification, Braun occupied himself with critiques of the foundations for the failure of East Germany. In this connection stood also his cooperation with that of Wolfgang Fritz Haug surrendered the western-Marxist periodical "Das Argument".

1986 Braun would awarded the Bremer Literature Prize and 1992 he got the excellence of the Schiller Memorial Prize. He was awarded a stipend of the Villa Massimo and a guest of the University of Wales in 1994. In 1996, he received the Deutschen Kritikerpreis (German Critic Prize), became a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, the Sächsische Akademie der Künste (Saxon Academy of the Arts) and held Poet-lecturer at the University of Heidelberg. He received the Erwin Strittmatter Prize in 1998 and the Georg Büchner Prize in 2000. From 1999 to 2000, he was the Brothers Grimm-professor at the University of Kassel. He would be elected to the Director of the Literature Section of the Akademie der Künste in 2006. In 2008, he received the 2007 ver.di-Literature Prize 2007 for his story, "Das Mittagsmahl" (The Midday Meal).

Volker Braun lives in Berlin.

Selected works[edit]

  • Die Kipper (The Dumpers), Drama (1965)
  • Provokation für mich (Provocation for Me), Poem (1965)
  • Vorläufiges (Provisional), Poem (1966)
  • Kriegs Erklärung (War's Explanation) (1967)
  • Lenins Tod (Lenin's Death), Drama (1970)
  • Wir und nicht sie (We and not Them), Poem (1970)
  • Die Kipper (The Dumpers), Drama (1972)
  • Gedichte (Poems) (1972)
  • Gegen die symmetrische Welt (Against the Systematic World), Poem (1974)
  • Es genügt nicht die einfache Wahrheit (It does not satisfy the Simple Truth) (1975)
  • Unvollendete Geschichte (Incomplete History/Unfinished Narrative) (1977)
  • Training des aufrechten Gangs (Training of the Upright Gang), Poem (1979)
  • Hinze-Kunze-Roman (Every Tom, Dick and Harry Novel), Novel (1985)
  • Verheerende Folgen mangelnden Anscheins innerbetrieblicher Demokratie. Schriften (Disastrous Results mangled Appearances in-house Democracy. Writings) (1988)
  • Der große Frieden (The Great Peace)
  • Der Wendehals (The Wende Neck) (1995)
  • Lustgarten Preußen (Delight Garden of Prussia) (1996)
  • Wir befinden uns soweit wohl. Wir sind erst einmal am Ende (We feel ourselves so far whole. We are only once on the End.) (1998)
  • Tumulus, Poetry Collection (1999)
  • Das Wirklichgewollte (The Real Artificial) (2000)
  • Das unbesetzte Gebiet (The Untaken Area), Historical Story (2004)
  • Das Mittagsmahl (The Midday Meal), Story (2007)

Literature[edit]

  • Edition Text and Criticism: Volker Braun, 1977
  • Jay Rosellini, Volker Braun, 1983
  • Christine Cosentino, Wolfgang Ertl: Zur Lyrik Volker Brauns (To the Poet Volker Braun), 1984
  • Katrin Bothe: Die imaginierte Natur des Sozialismus. Eine Biographie des Schreibens und der Texte Volker Brauns 1959–1974 (The Imaginative Nature of the Socialist. A Biography of the Writings and Texts of Volker Braun 1959–1974), Würzburg 1997
  • Fritz J. Raddatz: Broken Lives (German). Die Zeit, 44/2000
  • Rolf Jucker (Hg.): Volker Braun in perspective, Amsterdam/New York, 2004

Film[edit]

  • "Zur Person: Volker Braun" (To the Person: Volker Braun), Reportage, 50 Min., Author: Günter Gaus (1991)

External links[edit]