The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness
The story of Uwe Johnson, one of Germany's greatest and most-influential post-war writers, and how he came to live and work in Sheerness, Kent in the 1970s. In 1974, a strange man called "Charles" arrived in the small town of Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. He could often be found sitting at the bar in the Napier Tavern, drinking beer and smoking Gaulloises while flicking through the Kent Evening Post. But who was this unlikely newcomer?
This "Charles" was in actual fact Uwe Johnson, one of the greatest and most-influential East-German writers of the post-war period. But what quirk of Cold War history had caused him to end up in Sheerness, when his contemporaries had instead fled the DDR to Rome, New York or West Berlin?Drawn from Johnson's letters to his friends Max Frisch, Hannah Arendt, Christa Wolf, and others, as well as contemporary accounts and archival materials, this intriguing mix of literary and cultural history and memoir uncovers the last ten years of Johnson's life as it was in Sheerness, set against the backdrop of the social and cultural upheaval of the late 1970s.
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