Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.728819
Title: Poetik und Politik der Lesbarkeit in der deutschen literatur
Author: Schaper, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 5506
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
In 1990, German literary critics agreed that the end of the Cold War should mark the end of politically committed post-war literature. The political caesura prompted a debate about the future of German literature during which the concept of 'readability' evolved as a contested issue. It was championed in particular by the author Matthias Politycki and the publishers Uwe Wittstock and Martin Hielscher. Ever since, 'readability' has remained a benchmark for authors and critics alike in the battle for value and success. The thesis will establish a theoretical basis for 'readability' that draws on narratology, the Aristotelian concept of 'mimesis', classical rhetoric, and the poetics of contemporary authors who explicitly engage with 'readability'. Discussion will centre on the novel since this genre has been the focus of debate ever since the novel gained prominence with the rise of the reading middle classes in the eighteenth century. An analysis of the historical role of 'readability' will demonstrate that the debate as it manifested itself around 1990 developed out of a specifically German tradition, in which authors and critics alike viewed it as potentially in conflict with true art. In 1990, German literary critics agreed that the end of the Cold War should mark the end of politically committed post-war literature. The political caesura prompted a debate about the future of German literature during which the concept of 'readability' evolved as a contested issue. It was championed in particular by the author Matthias Politycki and the publishers Uwe Wittstock and Martin Hielscher. Ever since, 'readability' has remained a benchmark for authors and critics alike in the battle for value and success. The thesis will establish a theoretical basis for 'readability' that draws on narratology, the Aristotelian concept of 'mimesis', classical rhetoric, and the poetics of contemporary authors who explicitly engage with 'readability'. Discussion will centre on the novel since this genre has been the focus of debate ever since the novel gained prominence with the rise of the reading middle classes in the eighteenth century. An analysis of the historical role of 'readability' will demonstrate that the debate as it manifested itself around 1990 developed out of a specifically German tradition, in which authors and critics alike viewed it as potentially in conflict with true art. The thesis will demonstrate that 'readability' is key to understanding the debates about German literature in an era of globalisation when readers are more attracted to works by foreign authors than to works by German ones. It will examine how writers such as Helmut Krausser, Daniel Kehlmann, and Thomas Glavinic have exploited the opportunities of the changed parameters by writing and promoting 'readable' books. It will further explore to what extent 'readability' has opened up new avenues even for authors like Felicitas Hoppe and Ulrike Draesner, who distrust the quest for 'readability'. The thesis will conclude with a reflection on the prospects for 'readability' in the current literary landscape in Germany.
Supervisor: Kohl, Katrin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.728819  DOI: Not available
Keywords: German literature--20th century--History and criticism ; German literature--21st century--History and criticism ; Readability (Literary style) ; Literature and society--Germany--History--20th century ; Literature and society--Germany--History--21st century
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