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Title: The representation of the expulsion of ethnic Germans in German literature from the 1950s to the present
Author: Berger, Karina Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 9496
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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This study analyses the trajectory of literary representions of flight and expulsion from the 1950s until the present. The expulsion of ethnic Germans from the former eastern territories at the end of the Second World War has been thematised in a vast body of German literature, yet it has only recently attracted substantial critical attention when the topic experienced a resurgence in the media and literature in the Berlin Republic. This thesis charts the development of fictional narratives of German wartime suffering since the early postwar years and examines the most recent wave of novels in light of the earlier texts. Drawing on recent scholarship that dismisses the widely held notion that the subject had until now been 'taboo' in the Federal Republic, this study argues that memories of German wartime suffering have consistently found expression in the public sphere since the immediate aftermath of the war. The subsequent examination of expulsion novels thus takes a long-term perspective, considering the trajectory of expulsion literature over several decades, and evaluating the recent texts as part of a long tradition of representations in German literature. The novels are viewed both within the context of their respective historical period, as well as in relation to each other, enabling a more inclusive and comprehensive perspective. Moreover, this study includes a wide range of texts, including popular literature, complementing conventional literary history and offering a broader and more differentiated discussion than hitherto provided by scholarship on the subject. Framed by a discussion ofthe broader memory discourse surrounding German wartime suffering, it is argued that literature is a key medium for reflections on German victimhood, especially the wave of recent texts, which coincides with a period of transition as first-hand witnesses die out and other forms of remembrance take on increasing significance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available