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Readings in Twenty-First-Century European Literatures

Michael Gratzke, Margaret-Anne Hutton and Claire Whitehead

Readings in Twenty-First-Century European Literatures brings together analyses of post-2000 literary works from twelve European literatures. Sharing a common aim – that of taking the first step in identifying and analysing some of the emergent trends in contemporary European literatures – scholars from across Europe come together in this volume to address a range of issues. Topics include the post-postmodern; the effect of new media on literary production; the relationship between history, fiction and testimony; migrant writing and world literature; representation of ageing and intersexuality; life in hypermodernity; translation, both linguistic and cultural; and the institutional forces at work in the production and reception of twenty-first-century texts. Reading across the twenty chapters affords an opportunity to reconsider what is meant by both ‘European’ and ‘contemporary literature’ and to recontextualize single-discipline perspectives in a comparatist framework.

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Part III Human Relations: Being in the Twenty-First Century

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Angelika Baier Intersections: Hermaphroditism as a ‘Travelling Concept’ in Ulrike Draesner’s Novel Mitgift (2002)1 Wir sind doch alle Erben! Total, allumfassend, ausweglos. Das ist unsere Mitgift. Und genau das wird jetzt auf allen Ebenen erforscht, in der Biologie zum Beispiel, im Dinosaurierwahn, im Film. Und wenn alle drei zusammenkommen, wird es wahnsinnig erfolgreich, wie Jurassic Park vor ein paar Jahren.2 [We are all heirs, really! Completely, in an all-encompassing way, without an alternative. That is our dowry. And that’s exactly what is being scruti- nized on all levels now, in biology for instance, in the dinosaur hype, in films. And when all three come together, the success is crazy, like Jurassic Park a few years ago.] This chapter presents a reading of Ulrike Draesner’s novel Mitgift [Dowry], which was first published in Germany in 2002. Her novel focuses on the interplay of intersecting concepts and modes of thinking, as the passage quoted above illustrates. According to Patrizia, whose voice we hear in this quotation, everybody without fail is subject to multiple layers of interpre- tation – scientific as well as artistic. By using the terms ‘heirs’ and ‘dowry’, Patrizia also introduces the ideas of temporality and (family) history. Past interpretations of who we are stay with us, further complicating our 1 The research leading to this chapter was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 22877-G20. 2 Ulrike Draesner, Mitgift [Dowry] (Munich: btb, 2005), 46. In the following, the novel is cited as MG. All translations are my own....

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