While Gunter Eich's writing career goes back to the final years of the Weimar Republic, he had his most significant impact on the postwar literary scene, as a founding member of the "Gruppe 47," a leading representative of the Naturlyrik tradition, and as the author responsible for the German radio play's "classic period." In these same years Eich also gained much notoriety as a voice of dissent during West Germany's "economic miracle." With its unambiguous allusions to fascism and its disquieting message of universal guilt, Eich's radio play "Traume" elicited an unprecedented barrage of listener protest upon its premier broadcast in 1951, which one critic heralded as the "birth hour" of the provocative radio play. And in his acceptance speech for the 1959 Georg Buchner Prize, Eich once again sparked great controversy by stating that totalitarianism was an ever present danger in the Federal Republic, and by then closing his speech with a call for writers to practice a form of "linguistic resistance" against the establishment. Thus Gunter Eich, the lyric poet and radio author, also earned himself the reputation of an "anarchistic nonconformist" — a reputation which he maintained until his death in 1972.



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