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Feridun Zaimoglu

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Edited By 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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Margaret Littler Between Romantic Love and War Machine: Liebesbrand

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This essay is dedicated to Elizabeth Boa on the occasion of her retirement – in friendship and gratitude Feridun Zaimoglu’s Liebesbrand (2008) is an exuberant central European love story of impressive scope, in which the hapless narrator pursues the object of his amorous desire from Turkey to small-town North Germany, to Prague and thence to Vienna, where he finally accepts her rejection. There is never any indication of a happy outcome, and as the journey pro- gresses it becomes increasingly apparent that resolution and closure are far from the novel’s aim. It is longing itself, and love’s transformative power, that drive both narrator and narrative from city to city. The echoes of German Romanticism throughout the novel lend it an anachronistic tone, while the setting is unmistakeably post-Cold War central Europe, where boundaries between East and West have been recently re-drawn. The debt to Romanticism could be construed as Zaimoglu’s laying claim to a German literary heritage, but it could also be due to Romanticism’s af firmation of the power of fantasy, faith and feeling to give access to new possible worlds.1 As Venkat Mani says of Orhan Pamuk’s dialogue with German Romanticism: ‘Pamuk’s turn to Novalis can be best explained in his […] 1 Cf. Zaimoglu’s epistolary novel Liebesmale, scharlachrot (2000), with its many inter- textual references, most notably to Goethe’s Werther (1774), and Michael Hofmann’s chapter in this volume on political implications of Zaimoglu’s appropriations of Romanticism. 220 Margaret Littler incessant ef fort […] to emancipate literature from its material, moralistic,...

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