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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).

«... this collection of essays on place more than adequately accomplishes its mission. Preece and Durrani set out to give the reader an overview of the richly varied representation of city, suburb, exurb, and province in contemporary German literature. The collection does that and more. It provides the reader with the advertised overview, but also affords an in-depth analysis of the history of place, as well as a glimpse of the future.» (Paul A. Youngman, German Studies Review)