This volume introduces ten emerging voices in German-language literature by women. Their texts speak to the diverse modalities of transition that characterise society and culture in the twenty-first century, such as the adaptation to evolving political and social conditions in a newly united Germany; globalisation, the dissolution of borders, and the changing face of Europe; dramatic shifts in the meaning of national, ethnic, sexual, gender, religious, and class identities; rapid technological advancement and the revolutionary power of new media, which in turn have radically altered the connections between public and private, personal and political. In their literature, the authors presented here reflect on the notion of transition and offer some unique interventions on its meaning in the contemporary era.
Valerie Heffernan and Gillian Pye rightly claim that women have never played a stronger role in German literature than since the turn of the twenty-first century but that they are still marginalized in academic criticism of recent German-language writers. This book, comprising ten essays on contemporary women’s writing, goes a long way towards filling that gap. The essays do more than merely introduce us to emerging authors, however; they also offer new and theoretically informed interpretations of important works.
Overall this is a stimulating and important book to be recommended for all interested in contemporary writing and culture. Several essays will become important and foundational interpretations of authors who will continue to interest students and scholars of German literature in the future.
– Teresa Ludden,
Newcastle University, in
MLR – Modern Language Review, 110.2 (2015) pp. 612-3
Table of contents
Valerie Heffernan & Gillian Pye: Trends and Transitions in Contemporary German-language Writing by Women
Daphne Seemann: The Re-Construction and Deconstruction of a Family Narrative: Eva Menasse’s
Vienna Linda Shortt: No Place like Home? Eleonora Hummel and the Russian German Past
Valerie Heffernan: Perspectives on the Borderline: Julia Franck’s
Lagerfeuer Emily Jeremiah: Sewing an Account of Oneself: Materiality, Femininity, and Germanness in Larissa Boehning’s
Lichte Stoffe Gillian Pye: Jenny Erpenbeck and the Life of Things
Elaine Martin: New-Economy Zombies: Kathrin Röggla’s
wir schlafen nicht Siobhán Donovan: Illness, Creativity and Self-Discovery in Lea Gottheil’s
Sommervogel Deirdre Byrnes: Writing on the Threshold: Memory, Language and Identity in Kathrin Schmidt’s
Du stirbst nicht Carrie Smith-Prei & Lars Richter: Politicising Desire in Juli Zeh’s
Spieltrieb Carmel Finnan: Cartographies of Self: Ilma Rakusa’s Autobiographical Narrative
Mehr Meer. Erinnerungspassagen Notes on Contributors