Benjamin, Walter
  Bismarck, Otto v.
  Brecht, Bertolt
  Celan, Paul
  Döblin, Alfred
  Fontane, Theodor
  Grosz, George
  Grünbein, Durs
  Heartfield, John
  Honigmann, Barbara
  Isherwood, Christopher
  Johnson, Uwe
  Kleist, Heinrich v.
  Kollwitz, Käthe
  Kracauer, Siegfried
  Lang, Fritz
  Lasker-Schüler, Else
  Liebermann, Max
  Liebknecht, Karl
  Luxemburg, Rosa
  Marc, Franz
  Ossietzky, Carl v.
  Riefenstahl, Leni
  Ruttmann, Walther
  Schinkel, Karl Friedrich
  Speer, Albert
  Tieck, Ludwig
  Tucholsky, Kurt
  Ury, Lesser
  Varnhagen, Rahel
  Wenders, Wim


Johnson, Uwe

b. July 20, 1934, Cammin, Germany
d. March 12, 1984, Sheerness, Kent, England

German author, many of whose novels explore the contradictions of life in a Germany divided after World War II.

Johnson was born into a Mecklenburg family of ancient Swedish descent. He studied German at the universities of Rostock and Leipzig, where he received a diploma in 1956. He translated the work of several American and British authors before beginning to write himself. His first novel, Ingrid Babendererde, was refused by East German publishers when he declined to make various alterations to it. The novel remained unpublished. Aware that the same problem might well arise repeatedly, he moved to West Berlin in 1959. His subsequent work focused on the estrangement between people in the two Germanys.

Young Uwe Johnson

Once in the West, Johnson published Mutmassungen über Jakob (1959; Speculations About Jakob, 1963), Das dritte Buch über Achim (1961; The Third Book About Achim, 1967), shorter fiction in Karsch, und andere Prosa (1964; the novella Eine Reise wegwohin translated as An Absence, 1969), and Zwei Ansichten (1965; Two Views, 1966). All of Johnson's work was experimental: the narrative abruptly shifts from one consciousness or place to another; words assume different meanings when used by different characters; objects and events are described with intricate exactness, as if to emphasize their constancy against the mutability of emotions and reminiscences. In the tetralogy Jahrestage. Aus dem Leben von Gesine Cresspahl (1970-83; "Anniversaries: From the life of Gesine Cresspahl"), Johnson used a montage technique, combining newspaper clippings, notes, and narrative to describe problems in New York in the 1960s and events in German history between the 1920s and 1960s as recalled by the heroine's family.

Johnson lived in New York (1966-68), returned to West Berlin, and moved to England in 1974. Although younger than many of them, he was a member of the Gruppe 47 authors of postwar Germany. Later works included an essay on the poet Ingeborg Bachmann, Eine Reise nach Klagenfurt (1974; "A Journey to Klagenfurt"); a volume of essays, including two in English, Berliner Sachen (1975; "Berlin Affairs"); and Begleitumstände: Frankfurter Vorlesungen (1980; "Circumstances: Frankfurt Lectures").


"Johnson, Uwe" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.