After the Dresden Bombing: Pathways of Memory, 1945 to the by Anne Fuchs (auth.)

By Anne Fuchs (auth.)

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Dix, who had returned to Dresden after the war, cofounded the Dresdner Sezession with Conrad Felixmüller and others in 1919. 47 Cultivating the image of the lonely artist, his works were nevertheless regularly exhibited, and from the early 1920s he began to build up a reputation as a prominent woodcutter. 48 In 1932 he was appointed to teach at the Dresden Art Academy. In 1931 he briefly joined the National Socialist party but left the party one year later. In 1933 he tried to rejoin for opportunistic reasons but his application was declared inadmissible.

Vonnegut approached the problem Introduction 19 of representation through a strategy of carnivalisation. By combining the contemporary sci-fi narrative with the medieval tradition of the Dance of Death and the adventure story he exploded the conventional framework of realism in favour of a wacky hybridity that chimed well with the Flower Power generation. Nevertheless, the black lining of Vonnegut’s carnivalised rendition is the idea of historical excess. The sections on Vonnegut are complemented by a brief reading of representations of animal suffering across a range of authors, including the children’s writer Michael Morpurgo, who in An Elephant in the Garden (2010) relates the destruction of Dresden from the perspective of a German family who take care of an elephant from the Dresden zoo.

The collective will to make the city rise from the rubble is further aggrandised by photographic shots from a low angle that lend dignity to the project of reconstruction. Richard Peter’s iconographic depiction of a socialist future culminates in the final picture which adopts an upward angled shot to glorify a worker who appears to be climbing into a socialist heaven. With this allegorical vision Peter’s photo book ends a teleological narrative that promises historical redemption without needing to make any explicit reference to the new political order.

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