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New Perspectives on Contemporary Austrian Literature and Culture

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Edited By Katya Krylova

This volume brings together contributions arising from papers originally presented at the Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference held at the University of Nottingham in April 2015. It examines trends in contemporary Austrian literature, film and culture, predominantly over the past thirty years. This period has been one of great transformation in Austrian society, with the Waldheim affair of 1986–1988 marking the beginning of a belated process of confronting the country’s National Socialist past. The sixteen chapters of the volume analyse literary texts, films, memorial projects and Austria’s musical heritage, considering works by cultural practitioners operating both within and outside of Austria. The collection offers a multi-perspectival view on how contemporary Austria sees itself and how it is, in turn, seen by others from various vantage points.

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8 The Visible Uncanny: Anna Kim’s Novels Frozen Time and Anatomy of a Night (Silke Schwaiger)

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SILKE SCHWAIGER

8 The Visible Uncanny: Anna Kim’s Novels Frozen Time and Anatomy of a Night

ABSTRACT

In this chapter, I explore the concept of ‘the uncanny’ within Anna Kim’s novels Anatomie einer Nacht [Anatomy of a Night] (2012) and Die gefrorene Zeit [Frozen Time] (2008). The events in her books take place against the backdrop of the historic and political situation surrounding the Kosovo war and the impact of colonialism in Greenland, respectively. I will illustrate that the uncanny, or the German unheimlich, manifests itself in several ways. It surfaces in the form of darkness, solitude and isolation, which are the main characteristic features of the places depicted and characters portrayed in the novels. The perception of the uncanny is an inevitable consequence of the suppressed – and, at the same time, recurring − memory and trauma which haunts the places and their inhabitants.

The literary critic Peter Hamm makes reference to Anna Kim’s novel Anatomie einer Nacht when observing in the German newspaper Die Zeit that ‘Österreich ist nicht arm an eigenwilligen jungen Schriftstellerinnen, doch wenige haben von ihnen bisher ein so unverwechselbares Profil gewonnen wie Anna Kim’ [Austria is not lacking in unconventional young, female writers, but few have such a distinctive profile as that of Anna Kim’s].1 Anna Kim’s early literary work, in particular, is influenced by an ‘Austrian’ literary tradition of Sprachkritik, namely by writers associated with the Wiener ← 209 | 210 → Gruppe. Her first novel...

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