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Cityscapes and Countryside in Contemporary German Literature

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Julian Ernest Preece and Osman Durrani

Most of the chapters in this volume were delivered as papers at a conference on the same theme held at the University of Kent in April 2002. The essays collected here, by scholars from the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the US, address a topic of fundamental concern across all the disciplines engaged with the study of contemporary Germany: the evolving relationship between urban and rural space, the metropolitan centre and the provincial Heimat. The volume identifies and investigates a number of recent trends: the emergence of ‘eco-literature’, the renaissance of writing – in prose and verse – inspired by the new Berlin, the realignment of regional sensibilities, which is complicated by the troubled tradition of Heimat in all its literary manifestations, and the continuing disjunctions between East and West. Individual essays engage with the work of established writers (Günter de Bruyn, Hubert Fichte, Peter Handke, WG Sebald, Siegfried Lenz, Martin Walser, and Elfriede Jelinek) and emerging talents (Georg Klein, Christof Hamann, Ludwig Laher, and Arnold Stadler).
Contents: Stefan Neuhaus: ‘Stadt-Land-Frust’: on the Metamorphoses of a Literary Dichotomy – Ruth J Owen: ‘Germania im Bunker’: German Urban Landscapes in Contemporary Poetry – Chloe Paver: Down and Out in the New Germany: Urban Homelessness in Post-‘Wende’ Fiction – Robert Gillett: An Index and its Chronicle: Hubert Fichte’s Hamburg (Hauptbahnhof) – Alexander Gumz: The Novel as the City’s Body: Georg Klein’s Libidissi – Andreas Kramer: ‘die unerheblichkeit berlins’: Contemporary German Poetry and the Re-Writing of Regionalism – David Rock: Landscapes, Towns, and Cities from the Banat to Berlin in Richard Wagner’s Stories and Novels – Christina Ujma: All Quiet on the Italian Front? The Image of Rome in Contemporary German Prose – Robert Halsall: Phenomenology of the Suburb: Peter Handke’s Mein Jahr in der Niemandsbucht – Arthur Williams: WG Sebald: Probing the Outer Edges of Nature – Axel Goodbody: Greening the City: Günter Seuren’s Satirical Account of an Urban Conservation Project in Die Krötenküsser – Simon Meacher: Anthropocentrism in Siegfried Lenz’s Exerzierplatz and Die Auflehnung – Owen Evans: Living in the Past? Günter de Bruyn, Prussia, and the Mark Brandenburg – Stuart Parkes: Home Advantage? The Settings of Martin Walser’s Novels and the Question of Heimat – Dieter Stolz: Province as Microcosm or ‘im Kleinen das Grosse aufschreiben’: Christof Hamann’s Debut Novel Seegfrörne – Juliet Wigmore: Crime, Corruption, Capitalism: Elfriede Jelinek’s Gier – Susan Tebbutt: The Politicised Pastoral Idyll in Ludwig Laher’s ‘Heimatroman’, Herzfleischentartung – Gregory Knott: ‘Zwischen Sehnsucht und Vergänglichkeit’: Arnold Stadler’s Concept of Heimat.