German Women's Writing in the Twenty-First Century

German Women's Writing in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Hester Baer, Alexandra Merley Hill

Essays in this volume rethink conventional ways of conceptualizing female authorship and re-examine the formal, aesthetic, and thematic terms in which German women's literature has been conceived.

What is the status of women's writing in German today, in an era when feminism has thoroughly problematized binary conceptions of sex and gender? Drawing on gender and queer theory, including the work of Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, and Michel Foucault, the essays in this volume rethink conventional ways of conceptualizing female authorship and re-examine the formal, aesthetic, and thematic terms in which "women's literature" has been conceived. With an eye to the literary and feminist legacy of authors such as Christa Wolf and Ingeborg Bachmann, contributors treat the works of many of contemporary Germany's most significant literary voices, including Hatice Akyün, Sibylle Berg, Thea Dorn, Tanja Dückers, Karen Duve, Jenny Erpenbeck, Julia Franck, Katharina Hacker, Charlotte Roche, Julia Schoch, and Antje Rávic Strubel -- authors who, through their writing or their roles in the media, engage with questions of what it means to be a woman writer in twenty-first-century Germany.

Contributors: Hester Baer, Necia Chronister, Helga Druxes, Valerie Heffernan, Alexandra Merley Hill, Lindsay Lawton, Sheridan Marshall, Mihaela Petrescu, Jill Suzanne Smith, Carrie Smith-Prei, Maria Stehle, Katherine Stone.

Hester Baer is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Maryland. Alexandra Merley Hill is Associate Professor of German at the University of Portland.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: German Women's Writing Beyond the Gender Binary - Hester Baer and Alexandra Merley Hill
Language-Bodies: Interpellation and Gender Transition in Antje Rávic Strubel's Kältere Schichten der Luft and Judith Hermann's "Sonja" - Necia Chronister
Matrilineal Narrative and the Feminist Family Romance - Valerie Heffernan
The Pitfalls of Constructing a Female Genealogy: Cultural Memory of National Socialism in Recent Family Narratives - Katherine Stone
Reckoning with God: Attitudes toward Religion in German-Language Women's Writing in the Twenty-First Century - Sheridan Marshall
Muslim Writing, Women's Writing - Lindsay Lawton
Popfeminism, Ethnicity, and Race in Contemporary Germany: Hatice Akyün's Popfeminist Autobiographic Works Einmal Hans mit scharfer Soße (2005) and Ali zum Dessert (2008) - Mihaela Petrescu
The Awkward Politics of Popfeminist Literary Events: Helene Hegemann, Charlotte Roche, and Lady Bitch Ray - Carrie Smith-Prei and Maria Stehle
The Indictment of Neoliberalism and Communism in the Novels of Katharina Hacker, Nikola Richter, Judith Schalansky, and Julia Schoch - Helga Druxes
Sounds of Silence: Rape and Representation in Juli Zeh's Bosnian Travelogue - Jill Suzanne Smith
Notes on the Contributors


[S]ucceeds in demonstrating the continued relevance of "German women's writing," not least its ability to critique, destabilize, and confound. . . . A welcome resource for undergraduate and graduate seminars, the volume is also of value for scholarly research on the diverse approaches and authors that constitute the field of the field of German women's writing today. STUDIES IN 20TH- AND 21ST-CENTURY LITERATURE [Brigitte Rossbacher]

[A] very useful volume which takes stock of women's writing today while also exploring how women have been affected by socio-cultural, political, and economic changes. MONATSHEFTE [Linda Shortt]

[A] volume which shows the variety of topics covered by women's German-language writing today. It succeeds in fulfilling its aim of making the case for women's writing in the age of neoliberalism and for feminist analysis that avoids what is facile or categorical. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES [Stuart Parkes]

[E]ngaging, provocative . . . . [D]emonstrates . . . the ways in which feminist analyses open up texts to critical questions of gender within larger configurations of identity and the lasting need to consider women's literature. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW [Barbara Kosta]

The volume succeeds in making the case for the relevance of reading and researching women's writing in the twenty-first century. . . . It . . . is a fine example of careful, profound, and progressive scholarship. Editors and contributors are to be commended for this excellent work. GEGENWARTSLITERATUR [Katharina Gerstenberger]

Baer and Hill have put together an attractive collection that seeks to analyze contemporary fiction in conjunction with feminism. Using new perspectives in feminist theory, the contributors offer original interpretations and challenging insights. . . . Approaching contemporary literature in fresh, productive ways, all these essays are interesting and well researched. . . . Recommended. CHOICE

In sum, this volume presents a valuable and highly recommended reference for anyone interested not only in contemporary women's writing, but also intersectional feminist research and the debates surrounding feminist literary criticism. WOMEN IN GERMAN NEWSLETTER [Sonja Klocke]

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