Siegfried Lenz: How the Author Uses the Media

Siegfried Lenz: How the Author Uses the Media

The writer Siegfried Lenz was closely connected to public service broadcasting in many ways. He was partly active as a consultant and editor for the radio, but above all, he wrote numerous texts for the radio since the end of the Second World War and took part in many productions. For him, radio became an institution that gave him important income. However, it was also a medium, which offered him new possibilities of technical and artistic expression. This “media work” represents a central part of his work, but has been insufficiently researched until now. Therefore, the project aims at collecting the broadcasting work of this author systematically, and, based on this author, at preparing an exemplary case study on the role of public broadcasting in the interaction between writers and broadcasting.
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Project Description

There are two areas in the context of "writers and the media" that have not been systematically dealt with so far:
  • On the one hand, Siegfried Lenz’s radio work is not yet fully known as part of a biography of his works and has at best only been investigated to some extent in research.
  • On the other hand, the role of public service broadcasting - and here in particular the "house station" of the author living in Hamburg: the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) - as a decisive player in the "literary business" has not yet been analysed and its diverse tasks in the public value areas of cultural life and cultural heritage have not been highlighted.
The investigation intends to answer the following questions:
  • What is the scope of the literature work by Siegfried Lenz for broadcasting?
  • What quality do the various forms of this author's collaboration have and what role do they play in a biography of Siegfried Lenz’s work?  
  • What role does public service broadcasting play in the production and distribution of literary texts and what tasks does it carry out in a diversified literary business?
The death of Siegfried Lenz in 2014 and the organisation of the literary estate by the Siegfried Lenz Foundation and the German Literature Archive (DLA) in Marbach have created a new starting point for document research on these issues. In addition to evaluating the holdings of the estate and the corresponding transmissions in the ARD broadcasting archives, the project aims to produce an exemplary case study on the role of public service broadcasting in the interaction between writers and broadcasters. The project should serve as a model for similar studies.

Project Information


Duration: 2019-2020

Research programme:
RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society

Involved persons

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner

Third party

Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR)

Contact person

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner
Senior Researcher Research Centre Media History

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Wagner

Forschungsstelle Mediengeschichte
Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 428 38 - 32 02
Fax +49 (0)40 428 38 - 35 53
mobile: upon request at +49 (0)40 450 217 - 0

[email protected]



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