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German-Language Literature Today: International and Popular?

International and Popular?

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Arthur Williams, Stuart Parkes and Julian Preece

Changes discernible in German-language literature in the late 1990s are examined with particular emphasis on its international profile and the emergence of popular forms. Unification has not led to a homogeneous ‘German’ literature. ‘German-language’ literature, a more appropriate term, can be seen to explore and to adapt to international and multicultural influences. While the catalogues of foreign publishers of German-language literature and some translation practices still tend to nurture stubborn ‘German’ clichés and stereotypes, these nineteen essays provide ample evidence of a vibrant literature in transition from provincial introversion to a growing flexibility in both genre and perspective. A significant renegotiation of boundaries, texts and perceptions is evinced by analyses of writing from the east (Brumme, Brussig, Fries, Hensel, Krauß, Liebmann, Rosenlöcher, Schulze), from Austria (Scharang), from Switzerland (Bär, Graf, Heimann, Knellwolf, Richle) and from the west, where the freshness of an intercultural Jugendliteratur complements, on the one hand, a deliberately exotic Grenzgängerliteratur (Alafenisch, Schami) and calculated fable-spinning (Pirinçci) and, on the other, the critical and best-selling successes of authors as different as Grass, Schlink, Sebald, Süskind, Timm, Wilkomirski and Woelk.
Contents: Stuart Parkes: Contemporary German-language literature: The changing agenda – Dieter Stolz: Patrick Süskind’s Parfum: ‘No one knows how well made it is’ – Wiebke Sievers: German identities in transition? The translation of contemporary German fiction in Britain and France – J.J. Long: Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser and Binjamin Wilkomirski’s Bruchstücke: Best-selling responses to the Holocaust – Beatrice Petz: Günter Grass since the Wende: German and international – Christopher Jones: Images of Switzerland in Swiss crime fiction – Arthur Williams: W. G. Sebald: A holistic approach to borders, texts and perspectives – Silke Hassler: Michael Scharang: From Florisdorf to New York and back again – Helmut Peitsch: Enlightenment and entertainment - still? Uwe Timm’s narrative model and his reception in the USA and in Great Britain – Stefan Neuhaus: ‘Erzählen ist total erotisch’: Literature, pleasure and desire in novels by Thomas Brussig, Uwe Timm and Ulrich Woelk – Tanja Nause: Reduction, regression, silence: A critical look beyond the category of the picaresque – Peter Graves: How simple are Ingo Schulze’s ‘Storys’? – Astrid Köhler: Whither? Away! Reflections on the motifs of travel and identity in recent east German prose – Susan Tebbutt: Bridging the cultures: German contemporary Jugendliteratur – Uta Aifan: Staging exoticism and demystifying the exotic: German-Arab Grenzgängerliteratur – James Jordan: Of fables and multiculturalism: The Felidae novels of Akif Pirinçci – Colin Riordan: ‘Den Amis in Hollywood ein für allemal das Lebenslichtlein ausblasen!’ Aspects of text and film in the late 1990s – David Barnett: Access denied. Werner Schwab, the explosion of character and the collapse of the play-within-a-play – Carsten Rohde: German Pop Literature: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann and what came after.