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Re-forming the Nation in Literature and Film - Entwürfe zur Nation in Literatur und Film

The Patriotic Idea in Contemporary German-Language Culture- Die patriotische Idee in der deutschsprachigen Kultur der Gegenwart

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Julian Ernest Preece

In the year that Europe commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of World War I and the European Union faces a crisis of legitimacy, the national question is once again being posed across the Continent. This volume assesses how contemporary German-language writers and filmmakers have approached this troubled question over the last decade. It addresses whether the collective entity known as Germany should more properly be conflated with the Federal Republic, with its successful sixty-five-year history (‘the best Germany we have ever had’), rather than the ‘nation’ with all its tainted connotations and corrupted concepts such as ‘Vaterland’. Contemporary Germany is a product not only of its history up to 1945 but also of the process of understanding that history and acting upon that understanding since the defeat of National Socialism. Each of the sixteen essays collected here illuminates a different segment of a bigger picture, whose shape and shades are themselves evolving. Presented as a whole their purpose is to provoke further discussion among observers of the contemporary German-speaking scene.
In dem Jahr, in dem Europa den 100. Jahrestag des Ausbruchs des Ersten Weltkriegs begeht, und die Europäische Union eine Legitimitätskrise durchmacht, stellt sich in ganz Europa wieder einmal die ‘nationale Frage’. Dieser Band zeigt Antworten von deutschsprachigen Autoren und Filmemachern aus den letzten zehn Jahren. Es wird gefragt, ob es nicht passender wäre, das unter dem Namen ‘Deutschland’ firmierende Kollektiv als ‘Bundesrepublik’ zu erfassen, und somit die Idee der ‘Nation’ mit all seinen Brüchen – bis hin zum verpönten ‘Vaterland’ – zu verabschieden. ‘Das beste Deutschland, das es je gegeben hat’ zeichnet immerhin eine Erfolgsgeschichte seit 65 Jahren. Das heutige Deutschland ist ohne Zweifel ein Produkt seiner Geschichte bis 1945, aber auch von Prozessen des Verstehens und der Verständigung über diese Geschichte seit dem Ende des Nationalsozialismus. Jeder der sechzehn Beiträge in diesem Band beleuchtet ein Fragment eines größeren Bilds, das selbst ständig im Umbruch ist. Als Ganzes sollen diese Beiträge die Debatte unter Beobachtern der heutigen deutschsprachigen Welt anregen.

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Notes on Contributors

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Greg Bond teaches communication and mediation in the faculty of business and law at the University of Wildau, Germany. He wrote a PhD on Uwe Johnson at Nottingham University and has published on both German and English literature. Sven Hanuschek is Professor of Neuere deutsche Literaturwissenschaft at the Ludwig Maximilians-Universität Munich (LMU) where he has run the department of ‘Germanistik, Komparatistik, Nordistik, Deutsch als Fremdsprache’ since 2004. He writes regularly for the press and is member of P.E.N., chairman of the International Heinar Kipphardt Society, and an editor of treibhaus: Jahrbuch für die Literatur der fünfziger Jahre (edition text + kritik) and neoAvantgarden (edition text + kritik). He has written books on Heinar Kipphardt, Uwe Johnson, Erich Kästner, Elias Canetti, Heinrich Heine, a history of the West German P.E.N., and Laurel & Hardy. Jakob Christoph Heller, MA, studied general and comparative lit- erature, theatre studies and philosophy in Mainz and Poznań (Poland). Since November 2011, he has been a PhD student at the DFG-Research Training Group ‘Lebensformen und Lebenswissen’ (Frankfurt (Oder) / Potsdam). His project investigates the aesthetic and political dimensions of pastoral motifs and structures in contemporary European literature. He has published articles on German literature (Peter Weiss, Peter Handke) as well as on Polish literature and film (Witold Gombrowicz, Andrzej Stasiuk, Bartosz Konopka). Thomas Irmer is a regular contributor to the monthly Theater heute and has published essays and articles on international theatre in various other journals around the world. His latest book is on...

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