Special Issue "Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787). This special issue belongs to the section "Literature in the Humanities".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Helmut Schmitz
Website
Guest Editor
School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Interests: 20th ct. German literature and culture; German Holocaust literature; literary and cultural memory; The Frankfurt School/Critical Theory; Aesthetics; Love

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For volume 12 of Hansers Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (Hanser’s Social History of German Literature from the 16th Century to the Present, 1992), edited by Klaus Briegleb and Sigrid Weigel, ‘Contemporary Literature’ begins in 1968. Leonhard Herrmann’s and Silke Horstkotte’s 2016 study Gegenwartsliteratur. Eine Einführung (Contemporary Literature. An Introduction) select 1989 as temporal marker that distinguishes ‘Contemporary Literature’ from ‘Post-War Literature’ and point to a critical consensus with respect to the threshold of 1989/90. As any conception of ‘Contemporary Literature’ is in need of distinguishing its conception of ‘the present’ from what precedes it, the fact that both of the above analyses of ‘Contemporary Literature’ demarcate their field by reference to a socio-historical/political caesura of national and, in the latter case, global significance is less remarkable than the fact that both studies are working with roughly the same time-frame for their conception of ‘Contemporary Literature’, a window of about 25 years.

Politically, economically and culturally, 1989/90 is a watershed moment that has transformed the field of German language literature. The fall of the wall in 1989/90, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of an unfettered global Capitalism can be said to have transformed the German literary field into ‘opening up’ to a global(ised) literary market and a globalized aesthetics. Simultaneously, the last two decades were accompanied by a series of ‘Cultural Turns’ (Bachmann-Medick) in Cultural Studies, from the ‘Spatial’ and ‘Turkish’ or ‘Diasporic Turn’, the ‘Postcolonial’, the ‘Transnational’/Transcultural’ and most recently the ‘Posthuman Turn’. The short-lived nature of these ‘turns’ may reflect yet another aspect of our socio-cultural present, the issue of increased acceleration (Rosa) and the diminished sense of a present (Lübbe).

If this Special Issue sets itself an even smaller time frame for its assessment of a set of constellations and thematic areas within contemporary German language fiction, it is because of the impact of the global developments since 2001 on the literary field, and the increasing shifts within German fiction towards an engagement with the emergencies of global socio-political developments. In line with Hermann’s and Horstkotte’s distinction between Gegenwartsliteratur (literature of the present) and zeitgenössische (contemporary) literature, where Gegenwartsliteratur marks the ‘immediate relation of a text to the discourses of its time’ that is articulated both contextually and/or aesthetically (Hermann/Horstkotte, 2016, 4), the articles in this Special Issue investigate a number of emergent themes that engage with and reflect recent developments, from the emergence of the ‘world literature’ debate and transnationalism/transculturalism, Neoliberalism and its impact on the self, Migration, emergent sexualities, Post-apocalyptic fictions to the re-emergence of Love and Desire.

Dr. Helmut Schmitz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Contemporary German language literature
  • World Literature
  • Transculturalism
  • Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
  • Neoliberalism
  • Love
  • Gender
  • Queer

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
From Roots to Rhizomes: Similarity and Difference in Contemporary German Postmigrant Literature
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030064 - 16 Jul 2020
Abstract
There has traditionally been some divergence in the interpretive paradigms used by scholars analysing minority literature in the Germanophone and Anglophone contexts. Whereas the Anglosphere has tended to utilize poststructural and postcolonial approaches, interculturality and transculturality are favoured in the German-speaking world. However, [...] Read more.
There has traditionally been some divergence in the interpretive paradigms used by scholars analysing minority literature in the Germanophone and Anglophone contexts. Whereas the Anglosphere has tended to utilize poststructural and postcolonial approaches, interculturality and transculturality are favoured in the German-speaking world. However, these positions are aligning more closely, as the concept of similarity is gaining ground in Germany, disrupting the self–other binary in what can be regarded as a shift from the idea of roots to rhizomes. In dialogue with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome, the paradigm of similarity will be explored in terms of culture in Zafer Şenocak’s essay collection Das Fremde, das in jedem wohnt: Wie Unterschiede unsere Gesellschaft zusammenhalten (The Foreign that Resides in Everyone: How Differences Hold Our Society Together, 2018), which explores the similarities between Turkish and German culture alongside their internal differences; in terms of language in Uljana Wolf’s poetry cycle “DICHTionary” (2009), which seeks out links between German and English through ‘false friends’; and in terms of religion in Feridun Zaimoglu and Günter Senkel’s play Nathan Messias (Nathan Messiah 2006), which raises questions about interreligious dialogue. All three texts challenge binary notions of identity in favour of a more complex, rhizomatic network of relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction)
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Open AccessArticle
Between Postdramatic Text and Dramatic Drama: Recent German-Language Playwriting by Lukas Bärfuss and Katja Brunner
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030061 - 09 Jul 2020
Abstract
Since 2000 there has been a boom in playwriting in the German-speaking world. This is shaped by a creative tension between two forms of theatre-texts. On the one hand the postdramatic text that exists in a theatre marked by a parataxis of all [...] Read more.
Since 2000 there has been a boom in playwriting in the German-speaking world. This is shaped by a creative tension between two forms of theatre-texts. On the one hand the postdramatic text that exists in a theatre marked by a parataxis of all theatrical elements, as outlined by Hans-Thies Lehmann and Gerda Poschmann; on the other, the ‘dramatic drama’ as identified by Birgit Haas that engages with dramatic representation whilst still questioning the reality being represented on the stage. In this contribution I explore these strands of contemporary playwriting in two texts written since 2000: Lukas Bärfuss’ Die sexuellen Neurosen unserer Eltern (2003) and Katja Brunner’s von den beinen zu kurz (2012). My analysis examines how both playwrights question dramatic conventions of form and character and the implications this has for audience efforts to discern meaning in the plays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
Intimacy and Resonance: Visions of Love in Hanns-Josef Ortheil’s Liebesnähe and Ronja von Rönne’s Wir kommen
Humanities 2020, 9(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9020052 - 19 Jun 2020
Abstract
Since the millennium, representations of intimate relationships have become one of the major trends in contemporary German fiction. This article examines two novels, Hanns-Josef Ortheil’s Liebesnähe (Love’s Closeness, 2011) and Ronja von Rönne’s Wir kommen (We Are Coming, 2016) [...] Read more.
Since the millennium, representations of intimate relationships have become one of the major trends in contemporary German fiction. This article examines two novels, Hanns-Josef Ortheil’s Liebesnähe (Love’s Closeness, 2011) and Ronja von Rönne’s Wir kommen (We Are Coming, 2016) as examples of two oppositional modes of representation of modern love relationships. Starting from an exposition of the configuration of love in social theory (Niklas Luhmann, Eva Illouz) as a compensatory mechanism for the fragmentation of social roles in modernity, the article reviews two concepts that describe love from a perspective of plenitude, Hartmut Rosa’s “resonance” and Francois Jullien’s “intimacy”. Reading Ortheil’s and von Rönne’s novels against Rosa’s and Jullien’s concepts, the article argues that while von Rönne’s representation of intimate relations falls squarely within the social theoretical parameters outlined by Luhmann and Illouz, Ortheil’s novel presents a fictional alternative to the “unhappy consciousness” of modern love, echoing Rosa’s and Jullien’s ideas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
The New German Nature Lyric
Humanities 2020, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9020050 - 04 Jun 2020
Abstract
Naturlyrik has long been a contested category in German poetry, but however politically suspect some may find ‘Gespräch(e) über Bäume’ (Brecht), they are vitally important in the era of anthropogenic environmental collapse. The current generation of German-language poets have sought new ways of [...] Read more.
Naturlyrik has long been a contested category in German poetry, but however politically suspect some may find ‘Gespräch(e) über Bäume’ (Brecht), they are vitally important in the era of anthropogenic environmental collapse. The current generation of German-language poets have sought new ways of writing about the natural world and environments; these differ from, and draw on, pre-twentieth-century Naturlyrik as well as the complex, often critical, representations of nature in poetry after the Second World War. Representations of gardens and other human-‘managed’ natural spaces, references to and rewritings of German literary tradition, and the exploration of non-human voices and subjects all serve as means of restoring subjective fullness and complexity to Naturlyrik. The questions of voice and form which are central to the idea of the lyric genre as a whole are implicated in the development of a contemporary nature poetry beyond both Brecht and Benn, and Anthropocene Naturlyrik is pushing German lyric poetry itself into a new phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
“Integration Ist Definitiv Nicht Unser Anliegen, Eher Schon Desintegration”. Postmigrant Renegotiations of Identity and Belonging in Contemporary Germany
Humanities 2020, 9(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9020042 - 19 May 2020
Abstract
This article examines the notion of “Desintegration” (de-integration), as introduced by German Jewish authors Max Czollek and Sasha Marianna Salzmann, against the backdrop of ongoing re-negotiations of identity, belonging, and “Heimat” (sense of home) in contemporary Germany. While many artistic contributions to the [...] Read more.
This article examines the notion of “Desintegration” (de-integration), as introduced by German Jewish authors Max Czollek and Sasha Marianna Salzmann, against the backdrop of ongoing re-negotiations of identity, belonging, and “Heimat” (sense of home) in contemporary Germany. While many artistic contributions to the debates around “Desintegration” have come from the realm of performance art, I will pay special attention to Salzmann’s prize-winning novel Außer Sich (Beyond Myself) (2017), as a literary approximation of the “Desintegration” paradigm, which showcases what I call a “non-authoritative” poetics of non-belonging. I will conclude by showing that the notion of “Desintegration” and its connection to a broader “postmigrant” trajectory enable novel perspectives on three of the central issues discussed in this article: the current location of German Jewish literature and culture; contemporary German-language contestations of “Heimat” and belonging; and the relationship between art and politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction)
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