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Original scientific paper

„…So heisst ein Sprichwort, das gehört auch hierher“: Die Sprichwörter im Werk von Walter Kempowski

Andreas Nolte

Full text: german pdf 592 Kb

page 217-276

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Walter Kempowski (1929-2007) occupies a unique place in German literature. He is the author of six novels retelling the history of his own family from 1900 to about 1960 before turning to other fictional prose and the publication of diaries – his own and others’ –, using a chorus of voices to illustrate important periods in German history during the 20th century. The main feature of his own writings is a unique type of colloquial language which employs, among phrases and idioms of every-day life, especially during the Nazi years, an abundance of proverbs. His published work contains some 540 different proverbs in about 900 pas-sages, which is an unmatched frequency. Providing many examples with context, this paper answers the following five questions: who uses which proverbs and where and how and why has Kempowski employed them?


Proverbs; phrases; German literature; autobiography; history; Third Reich; Walter Kempowski; function; use; context; novel

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