Remembering Africa

Remembering Africa

The Rediscovery of Colonialism in Contemporary German Literature

Dirk Göttsche

Personal eBook

Camden House



A groundbreaking treatment of the themes of colonialism and Africa in German literary fiction as presented in some fifty novels from the past three decades.
In the late 1990s, in the wake of German unification, multiculturalism, and globalization, a surge of historical novels about German colonialism in Africa and its previously neglected legacies hit the German literary scene. This development, accelerated by the centenary in 2004 of Germany's colonial war in South-West Africa, has continued to the present, making colonialism an established theme of literary memorialization alongside Germany's dominant memory themes -- National Socialism and the Holocaust, the former GDR and its demise in the Wende, and, more recently, "1968."
This is the first comprehensive study of contemporary German literature's intense engagement with German colonialism and with Germany's wider involvement in European colonialism. Building on the author's decade of research and publication in the field, the book discusses some fifty novels by German, Swiss, and Austrian writers, among them Hans Christoph Buch, Alex Capus, Christof Hamann, Lukas Hartmann, Ilona Maria Hilliges, Giselher W. Hoffmann, Dieter Kühn, Hermann Schulz, Gerhard Seyfried, Thomas von Steinaecker, Uwe Timm, Ilija Trojanow, and Stephan Wackwitz. Drawing on international postcolonial theory, the German tradition of cross-cultural literary studies, and on memory studies, the book brings the hitherto neglected German case to the international debate in postcolonial literary studies.

Dirk Göttsche is Professor of German at the University of Nottingham.


494 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Personal eBook, 9781580468206, May 2013
Hardback, 9781571135469, May 2013
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, HIS014000, HIS001000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Related Titles

Table of Contents

From Colonial Fantasies to Postcolonial Memory: Historical and Theoretical Parameters
Remembering German Colonialism
Rewriting Colonialism in Cross-Cultural and Transcultural Perspective
Remapping the History of European Colonialism
From the Past to the Present and Back: Colonial History and Family History
Conclusion: German (Post-) Colonial Memory in Perspective
Index of Authors and Works Discussed
General Index


(Göttsche's) impressive study, in which he takes into account over fifty novels, pursues in a nearly encyclopedic manner the extent to which contemporary German literature reflects and represents the German colonial period in Africa. . . . (The book) represents an important contribution to German postcolonial studies, since it provides a richly detailed and informative overview of the content, themes, and formal aspects of the novels in question. MONATSHEFTE (M)agisterial . . . . Göttsche tackles his vast corpus of material with a re?ned and elaborate instrumentarium that differentiates clearly between inter-, trans-, and cross-culturality . . . . The study consolidates existing research in the most comprehensive way (plentiful contributions exist on the more intriguing works by the likes of Timm, Trojanow, Capus, Stangl, and others; almost none exist on the majority of the material). It thereby provides the touchstone for any future engagement with the subject-matter. Many of the novels discussed are also eminently teachable. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

(A)n important intervention in the steadily growing field of German postcolonial studies . . . . Göttsche's monumental work provides a wide-ranging and in-depth study of colonialism in German-language literature, supported by the inclusion of a wealth of secondary material in English and in German and historical overviews of the German presence in African colonies. . . . (O)f interest to anyone working in German studies but also to scholars of postcolonial literature more generally, since many of Göttsche's insights are equally applicable to a British or French context, and he raises important questions about appropriate ways of remembering Empire and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary Europe. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES

The study is almost encyclopedic in its review of the extensive corpus of texts, and provides a meticulous scholarly apparatus. . . . Göttsche's volume may be seen as a foundational text inaugurating the birth of a sub?eld of German literary studies. I look forward to seeing the results of the further productive efforts this study is sure to inspire. COMPARATIVE LITERATURE STUDIES (Nina Berman)

Also in Series