The Underground and the City by Alfrun Kliems (forthcoming)

A sweeping study of underground poetry (and other art forms) across eastern Central Europe before and after the collapse of Communism.

Kliem’s Habilitation monograph provides a survey of underground poetics in Soviet satellite states (Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany) from the 1950s to 1980s by way of case studies of specific authors and close textual analysis of their texts and other art forms.

367 pages
15 months
Quote from Translation
“Because the semantics of the term underground presume a sealed-off ‘over,’ its sheer existence postulates that the promise [of an equitable society] has failed. It highlights a performative grievance at the persistence of a ‘netherworld’ that is not just comparatively worse-off, but systematically excluded. This strident dual gesture of an imposed and self-imposed exclusion, there at the aesthetic core of underground concepts, is inconceivable in a stratified society where such exclusions are considered ‘natural.’ In modern society, however, vertical separation is scandalous.”
Bibliographic Details
Kliems, Alfrun. The Underground and the City, Pre- and Post-1989: Urban Poetics in Central Europe. [Der Underground, die Wende und die Stadt: Poetiken des Urbanen in Ostmitteleuropa]. Central European University Press, forthcoming 2018.