After 1945, German politicians and writers proclaimed a new beginning. The attempt to extricate itself quickly and completely from the crimes of the NS-Regime led to a never-ending series of embarrassing revelations about mainstream representatives and their most vocal critics. Their shared silence about past complicities produced another culture of complicity after 1945. In recent years, Arno Schmidt has been presented as the exceptional figure in postwar German literature. He never joined a literary network, was publically ridiculed for his linguistic experimentations, and was brought to court for blasphemy and pornography. The protagonists of his novels provide trenchant and brutally funny critiques of Germany's remilitarization and failing denazification. Because of their radical proclamations, they (and their author) have been considered as figures of radical noncomplicity. In my reading of B/Moondocks (1960), the culmination of Schmidt's literary postwar experimentation, I argue that his novels offer something more rare and instructive. They examine from within postwar society how the unacknowledged consequences of past complicity gave rise to the projects of a radically noncomplicit politics and literature, but simultaneously demonstrate how these projects remained unattainable in postwar society, even for the author himself.

You do not currently have access to this content.