The Metaphysical‐Religious Dimension of Günter Eich's Träume

Steven D. Martinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


“Wacht auf, denn eure Traume sind schlecht Bleibt wach, weil das Entsetzliche näher kommt.” Although Giinter Eich's radio play, Träume (1951), has been readily discussed from a political‐historical perspective, the metaphysical‐religious dimension of this work has received only peripheral attention. As a work of art, this play constitutes far more than a mere protest against the dreams of restoration which Eich and his countrymen shared shortly after World War II. It is a profound statement on the exigencies of life in general. In addition to revealing the metaphysical dimension of the play, this essay also focuses upon the existentialistic predicament of man as reflected in each of the Dream segments. The apparent contradiction between the express belief in the freedom of the individual to act, and the recurrent image of man's basic imprisonment in an alienating world, is resolved only when the polarity between the political‐historical and metaphysical‐religious dimensions at work in Eich's language is revealed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-348
Number of pages19
JournalOrbis Litterarum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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