Literature and Terrorism

Comparative Perspectives


Volume Editors: Michael C. Frank and Eva Gruber
The years following the attacks of September 11, 2001 have seen the publication of a wide range of scientific analyses of terrorism. Literary studies seem to lag curiously behind this general shift of academic interest. The present volume sets out to fill this gap. It does so in the conviction that the study of literature has much to offer to the transdisciplinary investigation of terror, not only with respect to the present post-9/11 situation but also with respect to earlier historical contexts. Literary texts are media of cultural self-reflection, and as such they have always played a crucial role in the discursive response to terror, both contributing to and resisting dominant conceptions of the causes, motivations, dynamics, and aftermath of terrorist violence. By bringing together experts from various fields and by combining case studies of works from diverse periods and national literatures, the volume Literature and Terrorism chooses a diachronic and comparative perspective. It is interested in the specific cultural work performed by narrative and dramatic literature in the face of terrorism, focusing on literature's ambivalent relationship to other, competing modes of discourse.

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“In its entirety, Literature and Terrorism is clearly the more comprehensive and more nuanced of the two volumes, with a broader scope, a larger extent of theoretical groundwork, and a more diversified and critical approach to the phenomenon that ‘9/11’ has become over the past thirteen years.” - Birgit Däwes, Flensburg, in: Amerikastudien / American Studies 60.1 (2016)
Michael C. Frank and Eva Gruber: Literature and Terrorism: Introduction
The Emergence of the Terrorist in Fiction: Literary-Historical Approaches
Gudrun Braunsperger: Sergey Nechaev and Dostoevsky’s Devils: The Literary Answer to Terrorism in Nineteenth-Century Russia
Michael C. Frank: Plots on London: Terrorism in Turn-of-the-Century British Fiction
Hendrik Blumentrath: Enmity and the Archive: Aesthetics of Defiguration in Literature and Criminology, 1900/1970
Pre- and Post-9/11 Representations of Terrorism in Fiction: Continuities and Breaks
Eva Gruber: Narrating Terrorism on the Eve of 9/11: Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto
Martina Wolff: Self, Identity and Terrorism in Current American Literature: American Pastoral and Terrorist
Roy Scranton: The 9/11 Novel and the Politics of Narcissism
Margaret Scanlan: After the Apocalypse: Novelists and Terrorists since 9/11
Michael König: Literary Accounts of Terrorism in Recent German Literature: An Attempt at Marginalization?
Narrativizations of Terror: Media and Modes, Plot and Form
Ulrich Meurer: Double-mediated Terrorism: Gerhard Richter and Don DeLillo’s “Baader-Meinhof”
Kirsten Mahlke: A Fantastic Tale of Terror: Argentina’s “Disappeared” and Their Narrative Representation in Julio Cortázar’s “Second Time Round”
Georgiana Banita: Middle Hours: Terrorism and Narrative Emplotment in Andre Dubus III’s The Garden of Last Days
The Question of Genre: Drama and Narrative Literature after 9/11
Marie-Luise Egbert: Narratives of Terror: A New Paradigm for the Novel?
Herbert Grabes: The Impact of “September 11”: Dramatic and Narrative Creations
Notes on Contributors