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Feridun Zaimoglu

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Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yeşilada

Feridun Zaimoglu made a spectacular entrance onto the German cultural scene in 1995 with Kanak Sprak: a volume of incendiary texts based on interviews with disaffected Turkish German youths, using an invented, stylized literary language, a hybrid of multiple varieties of German with a hip hop beat. A prolific and acclaimed novelist, dramatist, newspaper columnist, visual artist and live performer, Zaimoglu has remained in the public eye through controversy and reinvention. His more recent work appropriates German literary traditions in radically new ways, adapting Romantic styles, narrative forms and motifs to postmodern conditions.
This volume features the suppressed original first chapter of Leyla, Zaimoglu’s critically and commercially most successful novel, first published in 2006, as well as an extensive interview with the author. Critical essays on his writing by major scholars in the field cover issues of gender, language and power, the politics of ethnicity, religion, Romanticism and anti-modernism, and the challenges of translating his work. This is the first volume of criticism in any language dedicated to Zaimoglu’s literary work.

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Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yeşilada ‘Ich bin nicht modern’ / ‘I’m not Modern’

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: Interviews with Feridun Zaimoglu The interviews published here were conducted in Swansea on 26 June 2008 (by Tom Cheesman [TC] and Karin E. Yeşilada [KEY]) when Zaimoglu was writer-in-residence in the German Department of Swansea University, and in Pirmasens (Rhineland-Palatinate) on 13 September 2008 (TC), when Zaimoglu was giving a reading and attending public functions as the previous winner of the Hugo Ball Prize, awarded by the city of Pirmasens every three years. The English translation is by TC, with acknowledgements to KEY. The German transcription is also given for those who can appreciate Zaimoglu’s distinctive speaking style. 40 Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yeşilada TC: Meine erste Frage geht nach dem Musikalischen in Ihrem Schreiben. Die frühen Texte – Kanak Sprak, Abschaum, Koppstof f – hatten eine implizite Musikbegleitung, sie leben vom Rap-Sound. Aber auch der neueste Roman Liebesbrand hat eine Musikalität, jedoch eher die sinfonische Musikalität der Romantik. FZ: Halleluja! TC: Hören Sie Musik während des Schreibens, gehört das zum Schreibprozess? FZ: Nein, um Gottes Willen, ich höre mir keine Musik an beim Schreiben. Denn ich wäre dann sofort bei der Musik. Natürlich muss man von einem Schriftsteller nicht nur erwarten können, dass er eine Geschichte aufschreibt, von der er glaubt, sie sei von öf fentlichem Interesse, man muss bei einem Schriftsteller auch Sprachmacht voraussetzen. Das ist in der deutschen Literatur so ein bisschen verlorengegan- gen insofern, als man bei solchen Schriftstellern wie bei mir die Sprachmacht, die...

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