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Ilija Trojanow

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Julian Preece

Ilija Trojanow, born in Bulgaria in 1965 and brought up in East Africa, established his name as an international writer with the novel Der Weltensammler or The Collector of Worlds (2006), about the cross-cultural Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since the mid-1990s Trojanow has been prolific in a number of genres, including travel, ethnography and science fiction. He has also become a major public intellectual in Austria and Germany with provocative interventions on topics such as Islam and the West, civil rights in the age of cybersurveillance and climate change. His imaginative writing sits at the centre of a number of defining contemporary concerns, in particular the relationship between identity, language and culture.
This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise ( Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American scholars on central aspects of his growing œuvre. The contributors explore why Trojanow is one of today’s leading writers of German while challenging a number of myths that have grown up around him and his magnum opus, Der Weltensammler.

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JULIAN PREECE Mr Iceberger Runs Amok: The Aporias of Commitment in EisTau/Melting Ice

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JULIAN PREECE Mr Iceberger Runs Amok: The Aporias of Commitment in EisTau/Melting Ice Ich bin immer wieder entsetzt, wenn ich gefragt werde, ob ich denn Literatur für ein Instrument der Aufklärung erachte. Ja, was denn sonst? Der Fernseher etwa? Literatur muss gegenwärtig sein in dem Sinne, dass sie den Irrsinn der eigenen Epoche spiegelt und zu überwinden trachtet. Ansonsten gilt immer noch: Die Hof fnung liegt in dem Aufbruch des Einzelnen aus seiner selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit.1 I am always horrified when I am asked whether I consider literature to be an instrument of the enlightenment. Yes, I do. What else is there? Television? Hardly. Literature has to be contemporary in the sense that it ref lects the folly of its own epoch and tries to overcome it. Apart from that, I still maintain that hope lies in the liberation of the individual from his or her own self-imposed immaturity. Ilija Trojanow, so much should be obvious by this stage of this book, has always been attracted by the big topics. His second novel Autopol (1997) was, as Cornelius Partsch argues in his essay, about the skewed relations between the citizen and the contemporary state. His account of his return visits to post-communist Bulgaria in Hundezeiten/Dog Times is an angry indictment of the corrupt elite’s retention of power after the simulated revolution of 1989. After addressing the anti-Islamic fall-out from the ‘9/11’ attacks on New York in a series of public interventions through the 2000s, Trojanow turned his...

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