About the collection

The Karin McPherson Collection of GDR writing is accessible for consultation through the online catalogue at the University of Edinburgh Library’s Special Collections for consultation.

It includes:

  • Prose by authors who gained recognition beyond the confines of the GDR. Authors represented by a number of seminal titles include Anna Seghers, Christa Wolf, Bertolt Brecht, Hermann Kant and Günter de Bruyn.
  • Critical works by many authors, such as Brigitte Reimann and Irmtraud Morgner, who were not known beyond the GDR but who nevertheless represent major advances in the development of a literature increasingly critical of its government and society. A common thread is the critical dialogue between fiction and literary criticism by leading critics like Dieter Schlenstedt and Robert Weimann as well as official SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) publications (Waldemar Koch and Konrad Naumann).
  • Works by female authors who contributed substantially to an alternative approach to social issues in the GDR. Spanning three generations, they include Anna Seghers, Brigitte Reimann, Irmtraud Morgner, Kerstin Hensel, Brigitte Burmeister and Sarah Kirsch.
  • Fiction by leading authors and poets who left the GDR under silent protest against the stringent rules of political censorship, including Erich Loest, Reiner Kunze, Peter Huchel, Jurek Becker and Sarah Kirsch.
  • Major works by playwrights, including Peter Hacks and Heiner Müller, as well as a comprehensive section of Brecht writings.
  • Poetry by figures who became leading influences in the establishment while at the same time upholding a critical stance within the Socialist society. Foremost among them are Georg Maurer, Erich Arendt, Bertolt Brecht and Volker Braun.
  • Titles on language teaching and research, East German art and architecture.