This is the first book in English to survey the Eastern German literary trend of employing humor and satire to come to terms with experiences in the German Democratic Republic and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Author: Jill Twark
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter
This is the first book in English to survey the Eastern German literary trend of employing humor and satire to come to terms with experiences in the German Democratic Republic and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. As sophisticated attempts to make sense of socialism’s failure and a difficult unification process, these contemporary texts help define Germany today from a specific, Eastern German perspective. Grounded in politics and history, ten humorous and satirical novels are analyzed for their literary aesthetics and language, cultural critiques, and socio-political insights. The texts include popular novels such as Thomas Brussig’s Helden wie wir, Ingo Schulze’s Simple Storys, and Jens Sparschuh’s Der Zimmerspringbrunnen, as well as lesser-known but equally relevant works like Schlehweins Giraffe by Bernd Schirmer and Katerfrühstück by Erich Loest. A broad spectrum of humor and satire theories is applied to probe texts from various angles and suggest multi-layered answers to the question of how these literary modes function in postwall Germany to construct a specifically Eastern German identity. Interviews the author conducted with five of the satirists are appended as primary sources and contribute to the interpretation of the texts.