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After the GDR

New Perspectives on the Old GDR and Young Länder

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Edited by Laurence McFalls and Lothar Probst

This volume represents the efforts of fifteen scholars from Europe and North America to work through the complex and sometimes compromising past and the current struggles that together define eastern German identity, society, and politics ten years after unification. Their papers offer an exemplary illustration of the variety of disciplinary methods and new source materials on which established and younger scholars can draw today to further differentiated understanding of the old GDR and the young Länder. In a volume that will interest students of German history, cultural studies and comparative politics, the authors show how utopian ideals quickly degenerated into a dictatorship that provoked the everyday resistance at all levels of society that ultimately brought the regime to its demise. They also suggest how the GDR might live on in memory to shape the emerging varieties of postcommunist politics in the young states of the Federal Republic and how the GDR experience might inspire new practices and concepts for German society as a whole. Most importantly, the papers here testify to the multidisciplinary vitality of a field whose original object of enquiry disappeared over a decade ago.

Literaturvermittlung um 1900

Fallstudien zu Wegen ins deutschsprachige kulturelle System

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Edited by Florian Krobb and Sabine Strümper-Krobb

Der Band Literaturvermittlung um 1900 enthält neun Fallstudien, in denen an ausgewählten Beispielen die Voraussetzungen, Prozesse und Ergebnisse der Literaturvermittlung in den deutschen Sprachraum hinein untersucht werden. Als Ausgangssprachen/-literaturen werden das Jiddische, das Skandinavische, das Niederländische, das Französische und das Englische erfaßt; inhaltlich geht es um die anglo-irische Literatur, die Literatur des Ostjudentums, die flämisch-niederländische Literatur, Kontakte und Begegnungen von Vertretern dieser literarischen Systeme, Aufnahmevoraussetzungen im deutschen Sprachraum, Mechanismen der Anverwandlung und Übersetzung, die Etablierungsversuche von fremdsprachlich originierenden literarischen Figuren (wie Pierrot und Dandy) sowie um die Begegnung von Literaturvermittlern in fremdkultureller Umgebung.

Negotiating Positions

Literature, Identity and Social Critique in the Works of Wolfgang Koeppen

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Simon Ward

This study offers new perspectives on Wolfgang Koeppen, a writer too often consigned to the margins of post-1945 literary history. Examining the interaction of the personal and the social in Koeppen's writings, this book demonstrates that the politics of his works are inherent to their form.
Through a series of close readings, the book explores the positive and negative aspects of liminality, a dominant trope in Koeppen’s works. Stressing the thematic and formal continuities of his oeuvre, the first section illustrates how his protagonists perpetually establish a space for themselves 'in between' states. The second section examines how Koeppen negotiates with the discourse of 'nation' during two central periods of his career. It shows how his experiences in the Third Reich and his reappraisal of the years prior to 1933 determine his perspective on modernity, modernism and Germany after 1945. Having defined the location of culture in his works, the book concludes by resituating Koeppen's writings within post-war West German literary culture.

The Poet’s Role

Lyric Responses to German Unification by Poets from the GDR.

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Ruth J. Owen

This study of contemporary German poetry represents the first attempt to examine comprehensively and at some length the lyric response to the unification period. It sets out to investigate, by means of close textual analysis, whether the German ‘Wende’ was also a turning-point for poetry, exploring how GDR poets responded both to the revolutionary events of 1989 and subsequently to the new, united Germany. An introductory chapter considers what is distinct about poetry as a genre, especially under censorship or amid historic change, as well as outlining the post-unification ‘Literaturstreit’. The following chapter offers a survey of the poet’s role in the GDR from 1949 until 1989. Two central chapters then gather the poetry of the ‘Wende’ and unification as a corpus of work and characterize it, through the elucidation of recurring themes, motifs and techniques. The volume strikes a balance between giving a general overview of poetry written in 1989-1996 and focusing on individual poets whose work is particularly compelling. After identifying broad trends across a wide range of individual poems, collections and anthologies, single chapters therefore examine in greater depth the work of Volker Braun and Durs Grünbein. The concluding chapter addresses the issue of a separate GDR literature. Finally, an extensive, structured bibliography is provided, covering the poetry, literary criticism and cultural history of the period.

Jews in German Literature since 1945

German-Jewish Literature?

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Edited by Pól O'Dochartaigh

This volume contains some 46 essays on various aspects of contemporary German-Jewish literature. The approaches are diverse, reflecting the international origins of the contributors, who are based in seventeen different countries. Holocaust literature is just one theme in this context; others are memory, identity, Christian-Jewish relations, anti-Zionism, la belle juive, and more. Prose, poetry and drama are all represented, and there is a major debate on the controversial attempt to stage Fassbinder’s Der Müll, die Stadt und der Tod in 1985. The overall approach of the volume is an inclusive one. In his introduction, the editor calls for a reappraisal of the terms of German-Jewish discourse away from the notion of ‘Germans’ and ‘Jews’ and towards the idea that both Jews and non-Jews, all of them Germans, have contributed to the corpus of ‘German-Jewish literature’.

A Space of Anxiety

Dislocation and Abjection in Modern German-Jewish Literature

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Anne Fuchs

A Space of Anxiety engages with a body of German-Jewish literature that, from the beginning of the century onwards, explores notions of identity and kinship in the context of migration, exile and persecution. The study offers an engaging analysis of how Freud, Kafka, Roth, Drach and Hilsenrath employ, to varying degrees, the travel paradigm to question those borders and boundaries that define the space between the self and the other. A Space of Anxiety argues that from Freud to Hilsenrath, German-Jewish literature emerges from an ambivalent space of enunciation which challenges the great narrative of an historical identity authenticated by an originary past. Inspired by postcolonial and psychoanalytic theories, the author shows that modern German-Jewish writers inhabit a Third Space which poses an alternative to an understanding of culture as a homogeneous tradition based on (national) unity.
By endeavouring to explore this third space in examples of modern German-Jewish literature, the volume also aims to contribute to recent efforts to rewriting literary history. In retracing the inherent ambivalence in how German-Jewish literature situates itself in cultural discourse, this study focuses on how this literature subverts received notions of identity and racial boundaries. The study is of interest to students of German literature, German-Jewish literature and Cultural Studies.

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Edited by Axel Goodbody

Dieser Band verfolgt einen in der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft bisher wenig entwickelten Ansatz, indem er Lyrik und Prosa der Gegenwart einer ökologisch orientierten Betrachtung unterzieht. Im Hintergrund der hier versammelten Aufsätze steht die Grundfrage, wie die Beziehungen des einzelnen und der modernen Gesellschaft zur natürlichen Umwelt gestaltet sein müßten, um eine lebenswürdige Zukunft längerfristig zu sichern. In Überblicken und Einzelanalysen wird die literarische Umsetzung ökologischer Prinzipien seit den siebziger Jahren in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, der DDR, Österreich und der deutschsprachigen Schweiz exemplifiziert. Dabei kommen Kritik der gegenwärtigen Mensch-Natur-Beziehung, Deutungen der Krise, und Bilder eines neuen Umgangs mit der Natur zur Sprache. Der Einleitung, die allgemeine Perspektiven einer ökologisch ausgerichteten Literaturkritik skizziert, folgen fünfzehn Aufsätze, die die Adäquatheit des jeweiligen Naturbegriffs bzw. der Naturdarstellung, sowie Schreibstrategien und ästhetische Leistung einzelner Gattungen, Autoren und Werke erörtern. Zu den behandelten Autoren zählen Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Günter Kunert, Heinz Czechowski, Wulf Kirsten, Silvio Blatter, Walter Vogt, Otto F. Walter, Jurij Brezan, Jurij Koch, Franz Josef Degenhardt, Volker Braun, Günter Grass, Franz Fühmann, Heiner Müller, Christa Wolf und Elfriede Jelinek. Neben den Bezügen zu verschiedenen Ausrichtungen des ökologischen Denkens (Naturschutz, Ökosozialismus, Ökofeminismus) stehen auch solche zur geistesgeschichtlichen und literarischen Tradition (romantische Naturauffassung, Zivilisationskritik, Apokalyptik) im Mittelpunkt der Untersuchungen.

Mit den Augen eines Kindes

Children in the Holocaust. Children in Exile. Children under Fascism

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Edited by Viktoria Hertling

Die vorliegenden siebzehn Beiträge basieren weitgehend auf den Vorträgen der im Oktober 1996 an der University of Nevada in Reno veranstaltenden Konferenz Children in the Holocaust - Children in Exile - Children under Fascism. Die Tagung beschäftigte sich erstmals mit den einschneidenden, oft nicht wieder auszulöschenden traumatischen Erfahrungen von Kindern im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland, im Exil und im Holocaust. Mit dem Jahr 2000 - also in weniger als zwei Jahren - gehört der Holocaust, den auch Daniel J. Goldhagen als das schockierendsten Ereignis des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts bezeichnet, das innerhalb der deutschen Geschichte am schwierigsten zu verstehen sei, zu den Ereignissen des sogenannten 'Letzten Jahrhunderts'. Ist es darum nicht geboten, die Auseinandersetzung mit diesen Ereignissen, die für viele Menschen selbst heute noch mit schweren Ängsten verbunden sind, unter neuen Gesichtspunkten zur Diskussion zu bringen, damit die Thematik auch über die Schwelle zum nächsten Jahrhundert hinweg in unseren Sichtweite nichts an ihrer Ungeheuerlichkeit einbüße?