Writing the Revolution. The Construction of '1968' in Germany


Writing the Revolution. The Construction of 1968 in Germany'. This book argues that writing about '1968', in its German context, is no longer about the historical events or the aims and objectives of a by-gone counter-cultural movement, but rather about a moral touchstone, a unique identifier of social groups, and an identity construct, to keep alive a utopian agenda that continues to fire the imagination. It demonstrates that the representation of 1968 as a ‘foundational myth’ suits a number of surprisingly heterogeneous groups, and that even the myth’s deconstruction strengthens it. Most importantly, it shows how a small group of determined writers, intellectuals, journalists and academics have kept ‘1968’ in the foreground of public debate for half a century, thereby ensuring that the experience of this ‘utopian moment’ (Jay Winter) maintains its subversive potential.


The book has received excellent reviews in Modern Language Review, German Quarterly, German Studies Review, Journal of European Studies, sehepunkte, and Theory & Event. Hans Kundnani, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, described it as “[A]n illuminating meta-history, not so much about 1968 as about the representation and mythologization of it.” Stuart Parkes, writing in the Journal of Contemporary European Studies, declared that “this volume […] confirms the status of the author as a leading British-based expert in the area.”

Publications and outputs

Monograph - Ingo Cornils, Writing the Revolution. The Construction of '1968' in Germany, Rochester: Camden House 2016

Project website