Reise in ein fernes Land. Skandalös – und doch kein Skandal
Reise in ein fernes land [journey to a faraway land] scandalous – and yet no scandal
Languages of publication
The travel reports about observations and experiences journalists of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT made while travelling in the GDR in the years 1964 and 1986 and which they published in books belong to the genre of travel literature (reference is made to Goethe, Schummel and Döblin). Both travels were made at the invitation of the government of the GDR and were allegedly completely free – but part of a “plan”. Due to the isolation resulting from the construction of the Berlin wall in 1961, both books met with great public interest. In their politically accented report, obviously designed to medially support the so-called “new East politics” of the Brandt government, the journalists paint a glowing picture, minimizing the reality of the party dictatorship, even though solid analyses of the actual conditions in the GDR were available. This can be compared to Lion Feuchtwanger’s “Moskau 1937” which he published “for his friends” about his travel to Moscow. However, the communist Feuchtwanger openly expressed his sympathy and characterized the Soviet Union as a dictatorship. To sum up, the reports of the ZEIT journalists can be classified as ‘political-fictional’ literature of purpose, on the one hand, because of their concealed political objective, and on the other hand, because the authors, due to their salon Marxist background, were, like Feuchtwanger, possibly of the opinion that they saw something “great”.
Publication order reference