Lizards and Frogs. The interplay of censorship and literary resistance in Herta Müller’s Niederungen
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This thesis answers the question why Niederungen by Herta Müller could be published in 1982 and was not blocked by the Romanian censorship, despite its critical content. The answer to this question can be found by studying the interplay of censorship and literary resistance in the text of "Niederungen". Censorious interventions were prompted by the communist regime in Romania, but took shape through the interactions between various actors. The interactive process gave wiggle room to dissident authors, who reshaped their texts to make use of the ambiguity of the censorship system. Writers could gain knowledge about the workings of the system from their connections. They were thereby able to employ strategies of Aesopian language accordingly and hide their criticism on the totalitarian regime from the censor. Niederungen exemplifies that censorship is not only about the text that was removed, but also about the form of the finished work; informed by the rules of censorship and modified by the successful employment of strategies for literary resistance.