Exhibition LITMAG

Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS) and the Department of English and American Studies are involved in a project on oppositional literary GDR journals 1979-1989 through Wolfgang Görtschacher. An exhibition is part of this international project LITMAG, which brings together eight organizations from different European countries. The project focuses on Eastern European literary magazines, which have opposed authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and have significantly affected the processes of democratization and joining the European Union after the Second World War. The exhibition is taking place in Slovenia, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania and Italy.

Exhibition at PLUS:

Independent Literary Magazines in GDR 1979–1989

March to May 2023 | Paris Lodron University of Salzburg | UNIPARK Nonntal | Erzabt-Klotz-Straße 1 | Salzburg | Austria

Critics believe that the rise of the GDR Samizdat literary magazines either started in 1979 — with the publication of the anthologies Papiertaube (Paper Dove; ed. Dieter Kerschek, Lothar Feix, Gerd Adloff) and Laternenmann (Lantern Man; ed. Thomas Böhme), which are regarded as their precursors — or with the SED Central Committee’s resolution from 11 November 1981 on “The Concept for Working with Young Authors and Other Citizens Interested in Writing”.

“This exclusion of half a generation of young authors from the GDR’s literary industry led to the opposite of what was intended—it strengthened the group cohesiveness of the excluded.” (Peter Geist 2009) By the end of the GDR, 30 smaller literary art magazines were published with a print run of somewhere between 15 and 200 copies. Among them are Mikado (1983–1987, 9 issues, ed. Uwe Kolbe, Lothar Trolle, Bernd Wagner), Ariadnefabrik (1986–1989, 24 issues, ed. Rainer Schedlinski, Andreas Koziol), Schaden (1984–1987, 17 issues, ed. Egmont Hesse, Sascha Anderson, et al.) and Anschlag (1984–1989, 10 issues, 2 special issues, ed. Angelika Klüssendorf, Wiebke Müller, Karim Saab).

Radix-blätter (ed. Stephan Bickhardt, Ludwig Mehlhorn)

The first issue of radix-blätter is the result of a literature camp on the premises of the East-Berlin Stephanus Foundation Weissensee, organised by Stephan Bickhardt and Ludwig Mehlhorn, focusing on Paul Celan’s oeuvre. Its title is derived from Celan’s poem “Radix, Matrix”: “In it, Celan commemorates his murdered parents. Radix means ‘root’ … getting radically to the root. New critical ideas ought to be disseminated. That’s it, I thought. This is how the idea developed to not just publish a one-off issue but a samizdat series of issues under this title.” (Bickhardt) Between December 1986 and August 1989, thirteen special issues were published according to no fixed publication schedule, on topics such as “Schattenverschlüsse. Zu Paul Celan” (Vol. 1), “ODER. Literarische Texte” (‘ODER. Literary Texts’, Vol. 4), “Spuren. Zur Geschichte der Friedensbewegung in der DDR” (‘Traces. About the History of the Peace Movement in the GDR’, Vol. 6) and “Atem. Texte und Graphiken” (‘Breath. Texts and Graphics’, Vol. 8)

Further information: |  Exhibition – Litmag

Plakat zur Veranstaltung

Dr. Wolfgang Görtschacher


Paris Lodron University of Salzburg | Department of English and American Studies

Erzabt-Klotz-Straße 1 | 5020 Salzburg | Austria

Tel: +43 662 8044 4424

Email to Dr. Wolfgang Görtschacher

Image: © LITMAG