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The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination

The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent

Susanne Rinner
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 180
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  • Book Info
    The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination
    Book Description:

    Through a close reading of novels by Ulrike Kolb, Irmtraud Morgner, Emine Sevgi Ozdamar, Bernhard Schlink, Peter Schneider, and Uwe Timm, this book traces the cultural memory of the 1960s student movement in German fiction, revealing layers of remembering and forgetting that go beyond conventional boundaries of time and space. These novels engage this contestation by constructing a palimpsest of memories that reshape readers' understanding of the 1960s with respect to the end of the Cold War, the legacy of the Third Reich, and the Holocaust. Topographically, these novels refute assertions that East Germans were isolated from the political upheaval that took place in the late 1960s and 1970s. Through their aesthetic appropriations and subversions, these multicultural contributions challenge conventional understandings of German identity and at the same time lay down claims of belonging within a German society that is more openly diverse than ever before.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-755-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
    Susanne Rinner
  4. Introduction. Trans/National Memories of 1968
    (pp. 1-30)

    Wladimir Kaminer’sSchönhauser Alleeis a collection of short stories that depict the everyday life of Berlin after 1989.² The Schönhauser Allee, a boulevard located in the former East Berlin, and its surrounding neighborhood serve as the narrator’s stomping ground and as the site of exploration of contemporary Germany and its past through the lens of immigrants’ experiences. In one of the vignettes the narrator describes how he is sifting through the remnants of what looks like someone’s personal library. Mirroring a scene already described in the 1977 novelDer Schleiftrogby Hermann Kinder, where the protagonist, disillusioned after the...

  5. Chapter 1 Remember? 1968 in German Fiction
    (pp. 31-56)

    After 1989, 1968 memory novels intervene with the attempts to write a homogenizing history of unified Germany by remembering moments of protest and rebellion that challenged and disrupted, at least temporarily, the usual workings of society. These novels inaugurate more reflective spaces in order to remember 1968 and its impact on unified Germany, and they revisit the 1960s’ discourse about the legacy of the Third Reich. These texts combine self-reflexivity and introspection with a moral and ethical obligation to remember and hence contribute to the culture of memory that shaped the 1990s in unified Germany.

    The discourse of the Holocaust...

  6. Chapter 2 Forget it? 1968 in East Germany
    (pp. 57-93)

    Numerous attempts, some explicit, others implicit, relegate 1968 in the GDR into oblivion. Those who acknowledge the existence of East German ’68ers tend to focus on very few and prominent participants, like Florian Havemann, at the expense of those who remain anonymous in their protest.² Havemann as serts, however, that there were other “Ost-68er” (East ’68ers).³ Among this small group of roughly two hundred people, he counts Thomas Brasch, Katharina Thalbach, Nina Hagen, Barbara Honigmann, Toni Krahl, Reinhard Stangl, Hans Scheib, and Thomas Heise. Havemann emphasizes that activists in East and West shared many concerns during the 1960s. These concerns...

  7. Chapter 3 Transatlantic Encounters between Germany and the United States as Intercultural Exchange and Generational Conflict
    (pp. 94-120)

    This chapter explores the representations of the United States and of the transatlantic relations between Germany and the United States within the literary discourse of 1968. 1968 memory novels contribute to the construction of an imagined transnational community of protest that has historical roots in the 1960s and shapes the cultural memory of 1968 in significant ways. The interpretation of 1968 memory novels reveals different temporal layers that articulate the different stages that American–German relations in the twentieth century underwent. This transatlantic relationship is rooted in space, and through the transfer and exchange of ideas and people, the literary...

  8. Chapter 4 Transnational Memories: 1968 and Turkish-German Authors
    (pp. 121-146)

    In April 2008, in time for the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the student movement,Radio Multikulti,a Berlin-based radio station that broadcasts in a variety of languages and always from the perspective of the other within the German mainstream, hosted a series of radio shows with the title “’68 als internationale Begegnung” (68 as an international encounter).² The series reflected the schism that exists in current considerations and reconsiderations of 1968. On the one hand, interviews with Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Bahman Nirumand, Michael S. Cullen, Kostas Papanastasiou, and Achmed Al Sadi underscore the important contributions to 1968 and...

  9. Conclusion. Continued Taboos, Confirmed Canons
    (pp. 147-154)

    The relationship between “Geist” (intellect), “Macht” (power), and “Tat” (deed) receives a lot of attention in Germany. Most recently, Stuart Parkes asks how writers, literary texts, and public discourse reconcile these apparently contradictory positions throughout the twentieth century and particularly after 1945.² As this study shows, the distinction between the literary text as a simple representation of historical events and the political sphere where power and action are located is obsolete. The interpretation of the 1968 memory novels in this study supports the notion that literary texts actively engage in the recuperation as well as the recherché of the past...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-170)
  11. Index
    (pp. 171-174)