Contemporary Migration Literature in German and English

A Comparative Study

Author: Sandra Vlasta
Up until now, ‘migration literature’ has primarily been defined as ‘texts written by migrant authors’, a definition that has been discussed, criticised, and even rejected by critics and authors alike. Very rarely has ‘migration literature’ been understood as ‘literature on the topic of migration’, which is an approach this book adopts by presenting a comparative analysis of contemporary texts on experiences of migration. By focusing on specific themes and motifs in selected texts, this study suggests that migration literature is a sub-genre that exists in both various bodies of literature as well as various languages. This book analyses English and German texts by authors such as Monica Ali, Dimitré Dinev, Anna Kim, Timothy Mo, Preethi Nair, Caryl Phillips, Hamid Sadr, and Vladimir Vertlib, among others.

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Sandra Vlasta is currently lecturing in Comparative Literature at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany. She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna, Austria in 2008. She taught German at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy, was a Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna, and a Research Associate at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her main research interests are literature and migration, travel writing, multilingual literature, and postcolonial literature and theory.
“Her comparatist approach, focusing on transnational literatures and global ethnoscapes, has markedly political implications. Indeed, it concentrates on cultural issues far removed from the ideologies underlying “brexit,” ethnic segregation, and plans to build walls between nation states. Vlasta’s “cosmopolitan” stance provides useful suggestions to overcome such narrow-minded visions of the world.”
- Thomas Ernst, University of Amsterdam, NL in Recherche Littéraire/Literary Research, Vol. 33 (2017), pp. 100-105

"Sandra Vlastas Studie überzeugt den Leser von der Leistungsfähigkeit des Subgenres “Migrationsliteratur” in seiner ganzen Dimension und leistet damit einen grundlegenden Beitrag zur Forschungslandschaft. Ihre Arbeit zeugt von einer gründlichen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Textkorpus und beweist einmal mehr, wie sehr die komparatistische Arbeit durch eine solide Verankerung in Einzeldisziplinen zu gewinnen vermag. Dabei bietet Vlastas themenorientiertes Vorgehen den Vorteil, dass ihre Überlegungen jenseits der deutsch- und englischsprachigen Beispiele mit viel Gewinn auch auf andere Texte über Migration anzuwenden sind. Es ist zu hoffen, dass ihr Buch rasch zu einem Referenzwerk für jegliche wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit Migrationsliteratur wird!"
- Elke Sturm-Trigonakis, in Germanistisce Mitteilungen: Zeitschrift für deutsche Sprache, Literatur und Kultur, 43.2. (2017), pp. 195-197

"[...] a sizable and comprehensive academic survey with coherent terminology and methodology. Conduce is the use of the term "migrant literature", taken not so much as texts written by migrant authors, but rather defined as 'literature on the topic of migration'. [...] It is noteworthy that among other merits of the study, it represents undoubtedly a comprehensive source of bibliographic data on migrant literature, both in terms of literary works (in the relevant national contexts though) and with regard to theoretical analyses in the field, and even beyond, due to Sandra Vlasta's interdisciplinary approach. [...] Perhaps the greatest merit of this volume though is the setting of new directions for further comparative and interdisciplinary studies." – Malamir Spasov, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in: Colloquia Comparativa Litterarum (2016), pp. 124-129

Interview with Sandra Vlasta on her publication
Acknowledgements

1. Introduction
2. The motif of language in migration literature
3. Identity and the search for identity in migration literature expressed by cooking, eating and food
4. Depictions of the new homeland
5. Global ethnoscapes in migration literature
6. Conclusion
7. Bio-Bibliographical notes on the authors
8. Bibliography
Literary scholars, in particular: scholars in Comparative Literature Departments, scholars of German Studies and scholars of English Studies
Scholars in Cultural Studies
Scholars in Postcolonial Studies
Scholars in Migration Studies
Students in Literature, German Studies, English Studies, Migration Studies, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies