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Vom mythischen Vehikel zum Paradigma gesellschaftlicher Themen

Lothar-Günther Buchheims ‚Das Boot‘ oder die Latenz der U-Boot-Literatur

Lieven Raymaekers

Pages 141 - 160



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.

Ever since the Second World War, submarines have been a favored theme in (popular) culture. The attraction of this stealthy, yet highly lethal naval vessel generated the “submarine myth”. Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s ‚Das Boot‘ (1973) in particular has contributed to this fascination and has spawned a stream of submarine novels that has remained unabated until today. Para-doxically, Buchheim had in fact tried to deconstruct the submarine myth by exposing its deceptive nature. Using Roland Barthes’ myth critical conceptual framework, this article explores how Buchheim (re)constructs the submarine myth in order to deconstruct it. Moreover, this article wants to come to an understanding as to why submarines are still omnipresent. In doing so, it argues that an analysis of the largely neglected body of submarine literature can shed a new light on pivotal sociopolitical and -cultural issues. It shows how the submarine functions as a meta-phorical screen on which themes such as risk, secrecy, security and surveillance to are critically reflected.

Keywords: submarine literature – modern myths – submarine myth – Lothar-Günther Buchheim (1918-2007) – immunity paradigm


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