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Religion and Identity in Germany Today

Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film


Edited By Julian Ernest Preece, Frank Finlay and Sinéad Crowe

In German-speaking Europe, as in other parts of the western world, questions of religious identity have been discussed with sudden urgency since the attacks of ‘9/11’. Nowhere was this clearer than in the heated controversy over the building of a mosque in the city of Cologne, which is the subject of Michael Hofmann’s contribution to this volume. Turkish Germans have also found themselves defined by the religious background of their parents. For different reasons German Jews have faced pressure to reconnect with a religion that their forbears cast off sometimes more than a century ago. At the same time religious belief among the nominally Christian majority has been in retreat. These changes have generated poetry, drama, and fiction as well as a number of films by both well-known and emerging authors and filmmakers. Their works sometimes reflect but more often challenge debates taking place in politics and the media. The essays in this volume explore a range of genres which engage with religion in contemporary Germany and Austria. They show that literature and film express nuances of feeling and attitude that are eclipsed in other, more immediately influential discourses. Discussion of these works is thus essential for an understanding of the role of religion in forming identity in contemporary multicultural German-speaking societies. This volume contains eight chapters in English and six in German.


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Acknowledgements vii


Acknowledgements The editors are grateful to the Modern Humanities Research Association for a contribution to the funding of the colloquium which resulted in this volume of essays. The editors would also like to thank the Insel Verlag for kind permis- sion to reproduce Das Flockenkarussell by Thomas Rosenlöscher (in Blüten- Engel-Schnee-Gedichte, Frankfurt/Main & Leipzig: Insel, 2007, pp. 93–103) in the essay by Robert Gillett and Verlag Karl Stutz and Esther Dischereit for granting permission to reproduce Jüdische Renaissance I by Esther Dischereit (in Als mir mein Golem öffnete, Passau: Karl Stutz, 1997, p. 9) in the essay by Mona Körte.

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