Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures

First Advisor

Beverly M. Weber

Second Advisor

Patrick Greaney

Third Advisor

Henry Pickford


In this Master's thesis, I explore the relationship between German philosopher Herbert Marcuse's critical theory and German author Uwe Timm's aesthetic rendering of an individual's critical experience. I focus specifically on Timm's novel Heißer Sommer and its realist depiction of the 68er Bewegung (the West German, leftist student movement). I examine the works of Marcuse that discuss societal domination and its totalizing effects on the human consciousness-- One-Dimensional Man (1964), Repressive Tolerance (1965), An Essay on Liberation (1969), and The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (1977). The German 68er Bewegung (the student protest movement) was dialectically analyzed by each figure, albeit through different mediums. First, I examine previous criticism on Timm, which overwhelmingly attempts to disenfranchise Timm by accusing him of inundating Heißer Sommer with his subjective and ideological bent. I then discuss how Timm is intimately tied to social criticism, and by association, critical philosophy. For my purposes, Marcuse functions to provide the legitimizing theory that informs Timm's oft-maligned project of political realism: protagonist Ullrich Krause's progression into a liberated member of society hinges on the exposure of "one-dimensionality", societal "insulation", and the annihilation of the private sphere. I argue that Timm succeeds in aesthetically illuminating the progression of the (social) individual into a Marcusean critical stance: fully aware of societal domination and the totalitarian nature of capitalism.