Border Poetics in German and Polish Literature
Title Details

214 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 242

Imprint: Camden House

Border Poetics in German and Polish Literature

Cosmopolitan Imaginations since 1989

by Karolina May-Chu

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Examines how contemporary German and Polish novels reimagine borderlands as cosmopolitan spaces by engaging in border poetics, a narrative practice that relates political borders to figurative boundaries.

Globalization notwithstanding, we live in an age of borders, as the ongoing conflict at Europe's eastern edge reminds us. Borders are meant to protect, but they more often divide and exclude. This book, however, focuses on literature that pushes back against the divisiveness of borders, advocating for transborder connections and criticizing exclusionary boundaries. It examines novels that reimagine past and present German-Polish borderlands as cosmopolitan spaces. Novels by Nobel Prize winners Olga Tokarczuk and Günter Grass are discussed alongside works by authors less well known internationally: the Polish Inga Iwasiów, the German Tanja Dückers, and the German-Polish Sabrina Janesch.

The book utilizes and elaborates the concept of border poetics, a narrative and cultural practice that places political borders in relation to less concrete borders such as those of gender, ethnicity, or class, as well as in relation to epistemological and ontological boundaries: of language, knowledge, even reality. Because border poetics rests on the same productive tension between the particular and the universal that drives contemporary notions of cosmopolitanism, the book argues for the practice as an expression of what sociologist Gerard Delanty has termed "cosmopolitan imagination." The richly contextualized analysis is framed within transnational German Studies and draws on border studies, cosmopolitanism, European literature, and world literature.
Acknowledgments
Notes on Terminology and Translations
Introduction
Part I: Context and Theoretical Frameworks
1. Entanglements in German and Polish History, Literature, and Culture
2. Border Poetics
Part II: Reading Border Poetics
3. Disruption: Fictions of Memory by Inga Iwasiów, Sabrina Janesch, and Tanja Dückers
4. Belonging: Defocalized Narratives by Günter Grass, Sabrina Janesch, and Olga Tokarczuk
Ends and Beginnings (Not a Conclusion)
Bibliography
Index

KAROLINA MAY-CHU is Assistant Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Title Details

214 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Series Vol. Number: 242

Imprint: Camden House