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'Whose story?' - Continuities in contemporary German-language literature


Arthur Williams, Stuart Parkes and Julian Preece

These essays by British, German, and Austrian scholars explore the salient features of a literature reviving after a period of de-stabilization which was at once political and aesthetic. German unity coincided with generational changes among writers, reappraisals of the role of literature in an era of 'post-modern' challenges, and reassessments of the historical roles of Austria and Switzerland. While writers from the former GDR are shown to be pre-occupied with that past and women writers with women's status in patriarchal societies, the essays reveal a sophisticated literature of the 1990s which harnesses the aesthetic forces of post-modernism in powerful statements of moral and human commitment. Many of the essays address works which have not previously been the subject of scholarly analysis. The writers discussed include: Ernst Augustin, Jurek Becker, Hermann Burger, Brigitte Burmeister, Friedrich Christian Delius, Lilian Faschinger, Günter Grass, Peter Handke, Christoph Hein, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Rolf Hochhuth, Bernd-Dieter Hüge, Alexander Kluge, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Reiner Kunze, Monika Maron, Heiner Müller, Sten Nadolny, Christoph Ransmayr, Gerhard Roth, W.G. Sebald, Verena Stefan, Gabriele Stötzer, Peter Wawerzinek, Ulrich Woelk.
Contents: Arthur Williams: Introduction: German-Language Literature after the Diversion - Holger Briel: The Mediality of Language: Hermann Burger's Blankenburg - Jonathan Long: History as Biography as Fiction: Wolfgang Hildesheimer's Marbot. Eine Biographie - Susan Tebbutt: Borderlines and Communication: Sten Nadolny's Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit - Julian Preece: 'Was Eigenes sagen': The many Autobiographies of Peter Wawerzinek - Arthur Williams: The elusive First Person Plural: Real Absences in Reiner Kunze, Bernd-Dieter Hüge, and W.G. Sebald - Stuart Parkes: The Language of the Past: Recent Prose Works by Bernhard Schlink, Marcel Beyer, and Friedrich Christian Delius - Robert Halsall: Language and Silence: Gerhard Roth's Die Archive des Schweigens - Dieter Stolz: Nomen est omen: Ein weites Feld by Günter Grass - Osman Durrani: From Monologue to Dialogue: The Case of Friedrich Christian Delius's Die Birnen von Ribbeck - David Barnett: Tactical Realisms: Rolf Hochhuth's Wessis in Weimar and Franz Xaver Kroetz's Ich bin das Volk - Bill Niven: A Play about Socialism? The Reception of Christoph Hein's Die Ritter der Tafelrunde - Ricarda Schmidt:'The Gender of Thought': Recollection, Imagination, and Eroticism in fictional Conceptions of East and West German Identity - Robert Gillett: 'Im Grunde komponiere ich ja ständig': The polyphonic Poetics of Lilian Faschinger - Felicity Rash: Verena Stefan twenty Years on: Aesthetic and linguistic Innovation in Wortgetreu ich träume and Es ist reich gewesen - Beth Linklater: 'wenn die stimme im körper spricht und tanzt': Gabriele Stötzer's Writing the Body - Axel Schalk: When Türmann dropped the Stone: The surreal Landscapes of Ernst Augustin's Novels - Helmut Peitsch: Communication, Generations, and Nation: Ulrich Woelk's Rückspiel - Matthias Uecker: 'Für Kultur ist es nie zu spät¿': Alexander Kluge's Television Productions - Hubert Lengauer: Pitting Narration against Image: Peter Handke's literary Protest against the Staging of Reality by the Media - Ralf Schnell: Less representative, but more distinctive: A tentative Assessment of the current State of German-Language Literature.