After the National Socialist party came to power in Germany in 1933 and in Austria in 1938, many writers and intellectuals fled these countries. As a result, a dense network of correspondences was established among exiles from many different countries in and out of Europe. This article explores the expression of highly emotional experience in private letters, written at the time by professional literary writers and now available in print. Starting from existing linguistic, stylistic, and narrative studies of verbal emotional expression, a selection of representative epistolary texts is analyzed. The analyses show a wide and intricate repertoire of devices and strategies on all linguistic and textual levels, from graphemic markings to narrative composition, used to express and communicate emotional experience; these choices also bear on various communicative intentions, such as reestablishing contact, asking for help, or sharing concerns and opinions. Furthermore, the selected letters reveal that in the agonizing situation of exile, emotions consist of multiphase changes and processes, rather than of momentary reactions.
Els Andringa; Poetics of Emotion in Times of Agony: Letters from Exile, 1933–1940. Poetics Today 1 March 2011; 32 (1): 129–169. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-1188212
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