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Area and Ethnic Studies > German Studies

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Franz Kafka Cover

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Franz Kafka

Narration, Rhetoric, and Reading

Edited by Jakob Lothe, Beatrice Sandberg, and Ronald Speirs

Franz Kafka: Narration, Rhetoric, and Reading presents essays by noted Kafka critics and by leading narratologists who explore Kafka’s original and innovative uses of narrative throughout his career. Collectively, these essays by Stanley Corngold, Anniken Greve, Gerhard Kurz, Jakob Lothe, J. Hillis Miller, Gerhard Neumann, James Phelan, Beatrice Sandberg, Ronald Speirs, and Benno Wagner examine a number of provocative questions that arise in narration and narratives in Kafka’s fiction. The arguments of the essays relate both to the peculiarities of Kafka’s story-telling and to general issues in narrative theory. They reflect, for example, the complexity of the issues surrounding the “somebody” doing the telling, the attitude of the narrator to what is told, the perceived purpose(s) of the telling, the implied or actual reader, the progression of events, and the progression of the telling. As the essays also demonstrate, Kafka’s narratives still present a considerable challenge to, as well as a great resource for, narrative theory and analysis.

Frontsoldaten Cover

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Frontsoldaten

The German Soldier in World War II

Stephen Fritz

" Alois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot “the actions of simple soldiers….I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life.” In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the definitive account of the everyday war of the German front soldier. The personal documents of these soldiers, most from the Russian front, where the majority of German infantrymen saw service, paint a richly textured portrait of the Landser that illustrates the complexity and paradox of his daily life. Although clinging to a self-image as a decent fellow, the German soldier nonetheless committed terrible crimes in the name of National Socialism. When the war was finally over, and his country lay in ruins, the Landser faced a bitter truth: all his exertions and sacrifices had been in the name of a deplorable regime that had committed unprecedented crimes. With chapters on training, images of combat, living conditions, combat stress, the personal sensations of war, the bonds of comradeship, and ideology and motivation, Fritz offers a sense of immediacy and intimacy, revealing war through the eyes of these self-styled “little men.” A fascinating look at the day-to-day life of German soldiers, this is a book not about war but about men. It will be vitally important for anyone interested in World War II, German history, or the experiences of common soldiers throughout the world.

German Autumn Cover

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German Autumn

Stig Dagerman

In late 1946, Stig Dagerman was assigned by the Swedish newspaper Expressen to report on life in Germany immediately after the fall of the Third Reich. First published in Sweden in 1947, German Autumn, a collection of the articles written for that assignment, was unlike any other reporting at the time. While most Allied and foreign journalists spun their writing on the widely held belief that the German people deserved their fate, Dagerman disagreed and reported on the humanness of the men and women ruined by the war—their guilt and suffering. Dagerman was already a prominent writer in Sweden, but the publication and broad reception of German Autumn throughout Europe established him as a compassionate journalist and led to the long-standing international influence of the book.

Presented here in its first American edition with a compelling new foreword by Mark Kurlansky, Dagerman’s essays on the tragic aftermath of war, suffering, and guilt are as hauntingly relevant today amid current global conflict as they were sixty years ago.

German History from the Margins Cover

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German History from the Margins

Edited by Neil Gregor, Nils Roemer, and Mark Roseman

German History from the Margins offers new ways of thinking about ethnic and religious minorities and other outsiders in modern German history. Many established paradigms of German history are challenged by the contributors' new and often provocative findings, including evidence of the striking cosmopolitanism of Germany's 19th-century eastern border communities; German Jewry's sophisticated appropriation of the discourse of tribe and race; the unexpected absence of antisemitism in Weimar's campaign against smut; the Nazi embrace of purportedly "Jewish" sexual behavior; and post-war West Germany's struggles with ethnic and racial minorities despite its avowed liberalism. Germany's minorities have always been active partners in defining what it is to be German, and even after 1945, despite the legacy of the Nazis' murderous destructiveness, German society continues to be characterized by ethnic and cultural diversity.

The German Patient Cover

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The German Patient

Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture

Jennifer M. Kapczynski

The German Patient takes an original look at fascist constructions of health and illness, arguing that the idea of a healthy "national body"---propagated by the Nazis as justification for the brutal elimination of various unwanted populations---continued to shape post-1945 discussions about the state of national culture. Through an examination of literature, film, and popular media of the era, Jennifer M. Kapczynski demonstrates the ways in which postwar German thinkers inverted the illness metaphor, portraying fascism as a national malady and the nation as a body struggling to recover. Yet, in working to heal the German wounds of war and restore national vigor through the excising of "sick" elements, artists and writers often betrayed a troubling affinity for the very biopolitical rhetoric they were struggling against. Through its exploration of the discourse of collective illness, The German Patient tells a larger story about ideological continuities in pre- and post-1945 German culture. Jennifer M. Kapczynski is Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the coeditor of the anthology A New History of German Cinema. Cover art: From The Murderers Are Among Us (1946). Reprinted courtesy of the Deutsche Kinemathek. "A highly evocative work of meticulous scholarship, Kapczynski's deftly argued German Patient advances the current revaluation of Germany's postwar reconstruction in wholly original and even exciting ways: its insights into discussions of collective sickness and health resonate well beyond postwar Germany." ---Jaimey Fischer, University of California, Davis "The German Patient provides an important historical backdrop and a richly specific cultural context for thinking about German guilt and responsibility after Hitler. An eminently readable and engaging text." ---Johannes von Moltke, University of Michigan "This is a polished, eloquently written, and highly informative study speaking to the most pressing debates in contemporary Germany. The German Patient will be essential reading for anyone interested in mass death, genocide, and memory." ---Paul Lerner, University of Southern California

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German Studies Review

Vol. 35 (2012) through current issue

German Studies Review (GSR) is the scholarly journal of the German Studies Association (GSA), the world’s largest academic association devoted to the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study of the German-speaking countries. Recent issues have covered topics from Alexander von Humboldt and postcolonial theory to Krupp housing estates in the Ruhr valley to the popularity of German gangsta rap. A peer-reviewed journal, GSR includes articles and book reviews on the history, literature, culture, and politics of the German-speaking areas of Europe encompassing primarily, but not exclusively, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

German Writing, American Reading Cover

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German Writing, American Reading

Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866-1917

In postbellum America, publishers vigorously reprinted books that were foreign in origin, and Americans thus read internationally even at a moment of national consolidation. A subset of Americans’ international reading—nearly 100 original texts, approximately 180 American translations, more than 1,000 editions and reprint editions, and hundreds of thousands of books strong—comprised popular fiction written by German women and translated by American women. German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866–1917 by Lynne Tatlock examines the genesis and circulation in America of this hybrid product over four decades and beyond. These entertaining novels came to the consumer altered by processes of creative adaptation and acculturation that occurred in the United States as a result of translation, marketing, publication, and widespread reading over forty years. These processes in turn de-centered and disrupted the national while still transferring certain elements of German national culture. Most of all, this mass translation of German fiction by American women trafficked in happy endings that promised American readers that their fondest wishes for adventure, drama, and bliss within domesticity and their hope for the real power of love, virtue, and sentiment could be pleasurably realized in an imagined and quaintly old-fashioned Germany—even if only in the time it took to read a novel.

The Germans and the East Cover

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The Germans and the East

edited by Charles W. Ingrao and Franz Szabo

This volume provides an historical overview of the relationship between Germany, German speakers, and successive waves of German colonists with their eastern neighbors over the period from the Middle Ages to the present. The collection of essays by 28 leading experts includes the most recent scholarship together with fresh perspectives on the subject.

Germany and Its Gypsies Cover

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Germany and Its Gypsies

A Post-Auschwitz Ordeal

Gilad Margalit

    Historian Gilad Margalit eloquently fills a tragic gap in the historical record with this sweeping examination of the plight of Gypsies in Germany before, during, and since the era of the Third Reich.
    Germany and Its Gypsies reveals the painful record of the official treatment of the German Gypsies, a people whose future, in the shadow of Auschwitz, remains uncertain. Margalit follows the story from the heightened racism of the nineteenth century to the National Socialist genocidal policies that resulted in the murder of most German Gypsies, from the shifting attitudes in the two Germanys in 1945 through reunification and up to the present day.
    Drawing upon a rich variety of sources, Margalit considers the pivotal historic events, legal arguments, debates, and changing attitudes toward the status of the German Gypsies and shines a vitally important light upon the issue of ethnic groups and their victimization in society. The result is a powerful and unforgettable testament.

Germany in Central America Cover

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Germany in Central America

Competitive Imperialism, 1821-1929

Written by Thomas Schoonover

Using previously untapped resources including private collections,
the records of cultural institutions, and federal and state government
archives, Schoonover analyzes the German role in Central American domestic
and international relations.



Of the four countries most active in independent Central America-Britain,
the United States, France, and Germany- historians know the least about
the full extent of the involvement of the Germans.



German colonial expansion was based on its position as an industrialized
state seeking economic well-being and security in a growing world market.
German leaders were quick to recognize that ties to the cheap labor of
overseas countries could compensate for some of the costs and burdens of
conceding material and social privileges to their domestic labor force.
The Central American societies possessed limited resource bases; smaller
and poorly educated populations; and less capital, communications, and
technological development than Germany. They saw the borrowing of development
as a key to their social, economic, and political progress. Wary Central
American leaders also saw the influx of German industrialists as assurance
against excessive U.S. presence in their political economies and cultures.



Although the simplistic bargain to trade economic development for cheap
labor appeared to succeed in the short term, complex issues of German domestic
unemployment and social disorder filtered to Central American countries
and added to their own burdens. By 1929, Germany had recovered most of
its pre-World War I economic position.

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