Despite our embrace of the sheer utility and productivity it has made possible, the revolution in Information Technology has led to unease about its possible misuse, abuse, and even its eventual domination of humankind. That German culture is not immune to this sense of disquiet is reflected in a broad variety of German-language fiction since the 1940s. This first study of the literary reception of IT in German-speaking lands begins with an analysis of a seminal novel from the beginning of the computer age, Heinrich Hauser's 'Gigant Hirn' (1948), then moves to its primary focus, the literature of the past two decades, ranging from Gerd Heidenreich's 'Die Nacht der Händler'(1995) to Daniel Glattauer's novel 'Gut gegen Nordwind' (2006). Along the way, it analyzes eleven works, including Barbara Frischmuth's novel 'Die Schrift des Freundes' (1998), René Pollesch's drama 'world wide web-slums' (2001), and Günter Grass's novella 'Im Krebsgang' (2003). As wildly different in approach as these works are, each has much to offer this investigation of the imaginary border dividing the human from the technological, a lingering, centuries-old construct created to ease the anxiety that technology has given rise to throughout the ages. Paul A. Youngman is associate professor of German at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Director of the Center for Humanities, Technology, and Science.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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