Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Engagement and authenticity : poetics and politics in the late works of Martin Walser and Gunter Grass
Author: Henebury, Anja
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis examines a number of post-reunification writings of two German authors, Martin Walser and Gunter Grass, with regards to their engagement with the Nazi past. The decades since the reunification have seen an unprecedented number of public debates on the legacy of National Socialism, its significance for a newly sovereign German state and its adequate representation. Even though the notion of literary engagement and its representatives have undergone a devaluation in the post-Wende years, the two eminent FRG authors Grass and Walser have been at the centre of a number of these controversies. My original contribution to research consists in an inquiry into the ethics informing these authors' renewed engagement with the Nazi past as well as an analysis of how these ethics translate into their poetics. In doing so, I do not only consider the German context but also range of international discussions that draw on the Holocaust as a normative moral touchstone and as a paradigm for dealing with traumatic legacies of the past. While previous enquiries into the recent German literary engagement with National Socialism have drawn on contemporary trauma theory as a critical framework, I argue that the extent to which notions of trauma and psychoanalytical categories have seeped into popular culture has not been accounted for. Thus I consider lay trauma theory as a cultural backdrop that provides a vocabulary for 'emplotting' narratives of past suffering in a fashion that endows them with a sense of authenticity and, hence, legitimacy but that may also immunise them against political criticism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available