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Cultural Contexts and Literary Forms

Essays on Genre

Goethe Society of India, Chitra Harshvardhan, Rekha Rajan and Madhu Sahni

Genres mutate, disappear, travel through translation and sometimes re-emerge. Traditionally viewed as a classificatory device, the idea of genre has been challenged by anti-genre theoreticians who question the possibility of reading texts merely through a typological framework. The essays in this volume contribute to a transcultural poetics through an engagement with genre, viewing it as neither normative nor inflexible. They investigate historically established genres; genres that transgress conventions as they move between different art forms and cultures; and genres that, whilst seeming to respond to reader expectations, expand and create new communicative spaces. The volume includes not only theoretical considerations of the boundaries and scope of genre but also case studies of science fiction, poetry, aphorism, immigrant writing, filmic adaptation and the role of translation in genre.
This volume is the 2015 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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Sebastian Griese - Zwischen Erzählmodell und Gattungskompetenz. Ulla Hahns Roman Unscharfe Bilder und die Rhetorik des kulturellen Gedächtnisses


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Zwischen Erzählmodell und Gattungskompetenz. Ulla Hahns Roman Unscharfe Bilder und die Rhetorik des kulturellen Gedächtnisses


In the globalized world of today’s media, the commemoration of historical events has become many-voiced and multi-faceted. Critics fear that the actual facts might be neglected and forgotten since TV producers, for example, focus on telling compelling individual stories in order to attract viewers. And while there is indeed evidence of an increased interest in the accounts of eyewitnesses (and therefore in what seems to be private, individual memory), the forms of cultural commemoration have also come under scrutiny. In particular, attention has been drawn to the narrative structure of memories. The question of how we relate our memories to others seems all the more important in the German context as consensus is that Germans should never forget their troubled history. This imperative poses a challenge to contemporary writers who have not witnessed the history of the so-called Third Reich themselves but grew up with familiar stories about their parents’ or grandparents’ direct involvement in these historical events. They often are dealing with what Marianne Hirsch called postmemory. But how do you remember something you never experienced yourself? By means of a close reading of Ulla Hahn’s novel Unscharfe Bilder (2003) the article examines how writers use their reader’s knowledge of genre conventions (in this case the classic whodunit) to effectively tell their stories. In the process it becomes obvious that...

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