After the Utopias

After the Utopias

Helmut Böttiger

The first convincing overview of German-speaking contemporary literature since the reunification, incisively and eloquently presented by Helmut Böttiger, one of the leading critics of the younger generation.

Ingo Schulze and Ulrich Peltzer, Durs Grünbein, Thomas Kling and Judith Hermann: a new generation of German-speaking writers found its place in the 1990s, considerably changing the landscape of literature and literary life in reunified Germany. Helmut Böttiger, long-time editor for Frankfurter Rundschau and now a writer and critic in Berlin, is the first to venture an overview reaching from the fall of the Wall to the present. In six chapters, portraying more than two dozen writers, he shows what remains of the putative literary »boom years« and illumines those cases where individual experience has resulted in significant work. Böttiger finds originality and variety not in what the mass media publishes but on the borders of commerciality. He pays attention to lone wolves such as Reinhard Jirgl, Ernst Wilhelm Händler and Wilhelm Genazino, and describes the undiminished influence of Günter Grass, Christa Wolf and Botho Strauß. He analyses the consequences of the disintegration of the GDR and finds, in writers like Emine Sevgi Özdamar, who did not grow up in a German-speaking environment, the international outlook that goes beyond »German« topics and opens up new perspectives.

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After the Utopias

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