A Biography of Hans Fallada
‘A masterpiece of academic biography’ – Choice (USA)
‘An informative and engaging book on an extremely interesting subject’ – The Times Literary Supplement
‘Illuminates wide areas of German cultural life and policy in the Wilhelmine era, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich’ – Richard Evans, Professor of Modern History, Cambridge University
The writing life of Hans Fallada (1893–1947), from Imperial times during the First World War to the Soviet administration after the Second, made him a rare, continuous witness of his country’s tormented history. Himself a combination of authorial creativity and psychological self-destruction, he was the ideal witness and register of his times. Unlike almost all other liberal humanist German writers, he stayed in Hitler’s Germany, and barely survived it.
Fallada’s most famous novel, Little Man – What Now?, a representative account of the ordinary people of Germany on the brink of economic, social and political disaster at the end of the Weimar Republic, was the last best-seller before Hitler assumed power. In exploring Fallada’s unusual, often uncomfortable yet hugely productive life, his biographer opened up new ground in German cultural history, and her book was immediately translated into German and published by Aufbau in Berlin.
Jenny Williams is Professor of German at Dublin City University.