While villages face the threats posed by rapid change, real and fictional villages in German-speaking countries have recently gained visibility through cultural and literary representations. Starting from these considerations, this article explores Saša Stanišić's Before the Feast and Juli Zeh's Unterleuten, two successful novels, each featuring a post-socialist Brandenburg village as its location. By investigating the two novels and the websites named after them, fürstenfelde.de and unterleuten.de, the article shows how these works, originally conceived for print, open up to visual experimentation, and how their digital visualizations complicate the tensions between closure and openness, past and present, and facts and fiction that frame village tales in general, and these village narratives in particular. In partaking in the dynamics of the virtual world, fictional village stories receive new visibility and allow the narration to continue beyond the printed page, in digital spaces where the role of literature is renegotiated. In dialogue with scholarship on literature in the digital age and on German village literature, this article ultimately examines the importance of digital visualization as one of the multiple manifestations of the new German village, both as a narrative space and as a venue for the refashioning of literary and creative traditions.


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pp. 135-160
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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