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Title: Uncertain identities in German-language novels since 2010
Author: Aspioti, Myrto
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 3705
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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Literary authors in the German context have a high degree of public visibility, but performatively enact their public role in different ways. Whether they are actively involved in broader social and political debates or simply trying to maximise, through their public presence, the impact of their work, their identities inevitably take on a political dimension, which in turn affects the reception of their work in complex ways. This thesis explores experimental identity narratives in five recent German-language novels, arguing that these texts nuance, question, or destabilise their authors’ own public identities. Through a detailed discussion of five texts published after 2010 – Eva Menasse’s Quasikristalle (2013), Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Sand (2011), Saša Stanišić’s Vor dem Fest (2014), Jenny Erpenbeck’s Aller Tage Abend (2012), and Felicitas Hoppe’s Hoppe (2012) – it explores how fictional identities within these texts renegotiate authorial identity constructs beyond them. They all centre around narratives of individual and collective identities which are blurry, fragmented, or elusive. By using narrative elements such as narrative voice, focalisation, and order of narration in experimental and often disorienting ways, they generate uncertainty about the identities – collective and individual, contemporary and historical – which they present. The novels discussed in this thesis exemplify and yet resist recent debates about authorship and identity politics. By combining a study of contemporary performative models of authorship within the German Literaturbetrieb with narratological readings of the aforementioned five novels, this thesis shows that a profound ambivalence concerning models of identity is characteristic of twenty-first- century fiction and its underlying expectations of authorship.
Supervisor: Duttlinger, Carolin Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) ; Scatcherd European Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Contemporary German Novels ; Authorship Studies ; German literature ; Narratology