From Putsch to Purge. A Study of the German Episodes in Richard Hughes’s The Human Predicament and their Sources

Detta är en avhandling från English Studies

Sammanfattning: The two last novels by Richard Hughes (1900-1976), the first in his planned The Human Predicament series, are partly set in Germany in the years between the First and the Second World War. Much of the action in The Fox in the Attic (1961) takes part in and around Munich, culminating in a fictional reconstruction of the so-called Hitler Putsch on November 8-9, 1923, the future dictator's aborted early bid for power. In the sequel, The Wooden Shepherdess (1973), the time-span is wider and the places covered are more numerous. The novel's finale is a reconstruction of the so-called Röhm Purge, the internecine Nazi killings of the SA-leaders on June 30, 1934 and the following days. The present study, with its focus on Hughes's German episodes and their sources, is based on extensive research into his unpublished papers in the Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana, and the Reading University holdings of his correspondence with Chatto & Windus, the London publishers. In two postscripts, Hughes acknowledged some of his sources. The list is considerably extended in this study which singles out fifteen of his providers of historical material, while assessing the impact the borrowings have had on his fiction: the Bavarian von Aretin family, distantly related to him; his Welsh friend Goronwy Rees; the Prussian Ernst von Salomon; a certain Captain F. Götz; August Kubizek, Hitler's friend from their youth; three members of the Munich Hanfstaengl family: Ernst, Helene and Egon; the novelist and travel-writer Sir Philip Gibbs; the historians Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, Elizabeth Wiskemann and William Manchester; and finally three (former) Nazis: Walter Schellenberg, Kurt G. W. Ludecke and Otto Strasser. The study's narratological considerations of the interplay of fact and fiction in Hughes’s novels make use of some of Gérard Genette's distinctions (intradiegetic focalization, extradiegetic narration, etc), and the question of plagiarism (a term mentioned by Hughes himself) is briefly broached. The final chapters of the study concern Hughes and the German bookmarket, and his unfinished sequel, the torso published as The Twelve Chapters. In conclusion, Hughes's Hitler portrait and the critical response it provoked is discussed. The study quotes liberally from Richard Hughes's hitherto unpublished manuscript material.

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