"Wandern und nicht verzweifeln“: raum und identitätskonstruktionen in Soma Morgensterns zwischenkriegsprosa (1921-1938)
This PhD thesis examines the pre-exile writings of Soma Morgenstern, a Jewish- Austrian writer born in 1890 in Budzanów, Galicia. Morgenstern moved to Vienna before he was forced to flee from the Nazis to Paris, where he lived with Joseph Roth. A few years later, he left for New York, where he died in 1976. The 1990s saw the publication of a complete edition of his works, and since then researchers have started, albeit slowly, to pay closer attention to his writings. Nevertheless, even up to present day there has barely been any detailed academic treatment of his writings (1921-1938) of the interwar period. The aim of this thesis is to explore Morgenstern’s fictional and dramatic works and his Feuilleton in terms of formal as well as content, focussing on aspects such as his representations of Jewish identities found between the wars not only in urban Vienna and Berlin but also in rural Galicia. I aim to show how Morgenstern’s works present a new awareness of traditional Jewish values. These, however, are always critically reflected, ironically refracted and occasionally even parodied. An introduction to the corpus is followed by the second chapter, which focuses on places and the way urban and rural spaces are construed in Morgenstern’s works. In Chapters 2 and 3 I will analyse a selection of prominent characters in Morgenstern’s writing and the semiotics of characters’ clothes in interdependency with concepts of identity. The last chapter explores the treatment of the First Austrian Republic in Morgenstern’s interwar works, focussing more closely on the Habsburg-Mythos as well as the growing anti-Semitism of that period in urban and rural spaces.