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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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Notes on Contributors 243


Notes on Contributors Keith Bullivant was made Professor of Modern German Studies at the University of Warwick in 1989, the same year that he also accepted a chair at the University of Florida. He has published extremely widely in both German and English on topics pertaining to nineteenth- and twentieth- century German literature and culture. He is an editor of the complete works of Dieter Wellershoff and of the journal Literatur für Leser. Sinéad Crowe has published various articles on contemporary German theatre. She recently completed a PhD at Trinity College Dublin on religion on the contemporary German-language stage, which was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Frank Finlay is Professor of German at the University of Leeds. His pub- lications include books and articles on literature, culture, and aesthetics in contemporary Austria and Germany. He is a member of an international team working on a complete edition of Heinrich Böll’s works. With Stuart Taberner he edited the volume Recasting German Identity (Camden House, 2003) and a special issue of German Life and Letters (2002) devoted to ‘emerging writers’. He has been involved with the Colloquia since 1994 and is currently working on a new project which will re-evaluate the role of the literary intellectual in post-1945 Germany. Mario Fuhse was born in 1967 in Stolzenau an der Weser. He studied German and Art in Bremen and has published on a variety of artists and authors, in particular Hubert Fichte. He...

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