After the German defeat in World War I, a number of German intellectuals turned to Sophocles’ Antigone as a striking mythological symbol of their own situation: the heroine had stood by her brother even in defeat and had braved inhuman orders. However, Sophocles’ tragedy has provoked a number of very different interpretations and reactions. My talk will focus on Alfred Döblin’s novel November 1918, in which the reading and reenactment of Antigone is one of the most striking features. I want to argue that we will not be able to tease out the important facets of Döblin’s reception of Sophocles’ text if we fail to take into account the history of scholarship during the time of Döblin’s creative process. Moreover, I will show that Döblin was influenced by a number of previous engagements with Sophocles’ tragedy, such as Hasenclever’s Antigone.
Dayton Henderson, “Antigone-Figures: Alfred Döblin, Friedrich Becker, and Rosa Luxemburg in Karl und Rosa,” in: Melissa Etzler and Priscilla Layne (eds.), Rebellion and Revolution: Defiance in German Language, History and Art, Cambridge (Engl.) 2010, 120–51.
Otto Keller, “Gestus, Verfremdung und Montage als Medien der Figurgestaltung in Döblins ‘November 1918,’” in: Werner Stauffacher (ed.), Internationale Döblin-Kolloquien: Basel 1980, New York 1981, Freiburg i. Br. 1983, Bern 1986, 10–19.
Heinz D. Osterle, “Auf den Spuren der Antigone. Sophokles, Döblin, Brecht,” in: Werner Stauffacher (ed.), Internationale Döblin-Kolloquien: Basel 1980, New York 1981, Freiburg i. Br. 1983, Bern 1986, 86–115.
Friedrich Wambsganz, “Sophokles’ Antigone als Verdichtung des Widerstandsproblems der Individualität gegen die Staatsraison in Alfred Döblins November 1918,” in: Yvonne Wolf (ed.),
Internationales Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium Mainz 2005. Alfred Döblin zwischen Institution und Provokation, Bern 2007, 283–96.
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