Contemporary German Prose: Travel, Narration, Migration
The Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 signaled a new era of openness and global mobility and it spawned new forms of writing and reflection. Some of them will be discussed in this course. It offers an introduction to contemporary German literature and culture in English translation. We will work with short prose texts and novels from the period between the end of the Cold War and the present, with an emphasis on transcultural writing from the last decade, and undertake one or two excursions to earlier modernist travel writing. Key questions posed: How are recent travel and migration experiences narrated by a diverse group of German-speaking writers? Whose voices do we hear in their stories? What is the range of perspectives they represent? What are the personal and political stakes of their texts? And, finally, given our current state of pandemic limbo, how may they help us reflect on questions of movement and stasis in the past and the future? We will discuss some of the following writers: Alina Bronsky, Abbas Khider, Ilja Trojanow, Wolfgang Herrndorf, Yoko Tawada, Julya Rabinowich, Thomas Mann, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Judith Hermann, and W.G. Sebald. Brief lecture and discussion format. Requirements: Journals, class projects, midterm, take-home final.