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Cosmopolitical Claims

Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk

B. Venkat Mani

Publication Year: 2007

When both France and Holland rejected the proposed constitution for the European Union in 2005, the votes reflected popular anxieties about the entry of Turkey into the European Union as much as they did ambivalence over ceding national sovereignty. Indeed, the votes in France and Holland echoed long standing tensions between Europe and Turkey. If there was any question that tensions were high, the explosive reaction of Europe’s Muslim population to a series of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper put them to rest. Cosmopolitical Claims is a profoundly original study of the works of Sten Nadonly, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Feridun Zaimoglu, and 2006 Nobel prize in literature recipient Orhan Pamuk. Rather than using the proverbial hyphen in “Turkish-German” to indicate a culture caught between two nations, Venkat Mani is interested in how Turkish-German literature engages in a scrutiny of German and Turkish national identity.
    Moving deftly from the theoretical literature to the texts themselves, Mani’s groundbreaking study explores these conflicts and dialogues and the resulting cultural hybridization as they are expressed in four novels that document the complexity of Turkish-German cultural interactions in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His innovative readings will engage students of contemporary German literature as well as illuminate the discussion of minority literature in a multicultural setting.
    As Salman Rushdie said in the 2002 Tanner Lecture at Yale, “The frontier is an elusive line, visible and invisible, physical and metaphorical, amoral and moral. . . . To cross a frontier is to be transformed.” It is in this vein that Mani’s dynamic and subtle work posits a still evolving discourse between Turkish and German writers.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page

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pp. ix-xi

First of all, I would like to thank the staff at the University of Iowa Press. My special thanks to Joseph Parsons, acquisitions editor, for his kindness, professionalism, and enthusiasm for this project. John Joerschke's meticulous copy editing skills came right in time to help me dot the i's or occasionally undot them...

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Introduction: Cosmopolitical Claims

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pp. 1-43

At the 2002 Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Yale University, Salman Rushdie returned to evaluating frontiers.1 "The frontier is an elusive line," he claimed, "visible and invisible, physical and metaphorical, amoral and moral. . . . To cross a frontier is to be transformed" (Step across This Line 352). Rushdie proceeded to call the frontier...

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One: Thus Spake the Gastarbeiter: Sten Nadolny's Selim oder die Gabe der Rede

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pp. 44-86

In his volume Of Hospitality, Jacques Derrida contemplates the "Foreigner Question." At the very outset, he asks if "the question of the foreigner" is not indeed "a foreigner's question? Coming from the foreigner, from Abroad?" (3). He shifts the accent of his interrogation: "the question of the foreigner" becomes for Derrida "a question of the...

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Two: Slouching Histories, Lurking Memories: Emine Sevgi Özdamar's Seltsame Sterne Starren zur Erde

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pp. 87-117

These lines from Emine Sevgi Özdamar's novel Seltsame Sterne Starren zur Erde (Strange Stars Stare toward the Earth) reconstruct the (Turkish) first-person narrator's reentry into Germany through the former GDR. The re-, as it prefixes the words construct and entry, denotes an event that has been experienced in the past and is now being rehearsed...

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Three: Authentic Hybrid? Feridun Zaimoǧlu's Abschaum: Die wahre Geschichte von Ertan Ongun

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pp. 118-145

Feridun Zaimoǧlu's Abschaum. Die wahre Geschichte von Ertan Ongun (Scum: The True Story of Ertan Ongun) begins with "Die Beerdigungs- Story" (The Burial Story 7–11),1 the first of the thirty-six stories that make up the "true" story of the protagonist Ertan Ongun. The story is about the last rites of Farouk, a Syrian friend of Ongun, whose...

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Four: Turkish-German Reattachments: Orhan Pamuk's The New Life

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pp. 146-182

Outside of the immigrant narrative, where else is the "elsewhere" of the national imaginary identifiable? At the end of a book whose title promises an investigation of cosmopolitical claims, this question demands attention beyond the national confines of Germany. The first three novels discussed in this book registered the claims of participation...

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Afterword: Minorities, Literatures, and Recursive Leaps of Faith

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pp. 183-199

These lines were authored by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, whose poetry belongs on the same shelf as Bertolt Brecht, Pablo Neruda, and Nazim Hikmet. Faiz's biography is inscribed with political frontiers and boundaries, which he crossed and altered, transforming himself and his readers in the process. He was born in undivided...


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pp. 201-217


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pp. 219-238


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pp. 239-248

E-ISBN-13: 9781587297366
E-ISBN-10: 1587297361
Print-ISBN-13: 9781587295843
Print-ISBN-10: 1587295849

Page Count: 262
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1