Eastern Promises? Discovering Modernism in the Eastern European

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Eastern Promises? Discovering Modernism in the Eastern European
Eastern Promises? Discovering Modernism in the Eastern European German Jewish
Novel (Fellowship am Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin, von Dr.
Kata Gellen Norberg)
Initiative: Postdoctoral Fellowships in den Geisteswissenschaften an Universitäten und
Forschungsinstituten in Deutschland und den USA
Ausschreibung: Postdoctoral Fellowships in den Geisteswissenschaften an Universitäten und
Forschungsinstituten in Deutschland
Bewilligung: 04.03.2013
Laufzeit: 1 Jahre
The works of early twentieth-century Eastern European German Jewish writers tend to be aligned
with either the tradition of German-Jewish writing (in which case they are mined for historical
material) or the modernist canon (in which case their specific Jewishness or Easternness can
get lost). The aim of this project is to identify a distinct strain of German literary modernism
that is deeply engaged with the fate of European Jews in the modern world. The authors under
consideration, who include Soma Morgenstern, Joseph Roth, and H. W. Katz, all come from the
Eastern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, move westward, and write about these EastWest (and West-East) trajectories. Their novels represent a constant negotiation between tradition
and modernity, the shtetl and the city, religious commitment and secular assimilation. Even if
they appear nostalgic and reactionary at times, they are in fact engaged in an imaginative and
experimental literary exploration of the possible futures of Eastern European Jewry. In addition to
this modernist spirit of trial-and-error, these works perform stylistic manipulations that generate
critique: in each case an apparently naïve and simple tale belies a far more complex and fraught
story about Jewish existence in the modern world. This combination of an open, experimental
mode and stylistic techniques that enable writers to move beyond caricatured and stereotyped
visions of Jewish life defines the modernist critical potential of these works.
Projektbeteiligte
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Prof. Dr. Joachim Küpper
Freie Universität Berlin
Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC)
Berlin
Dr. Kata Gellen Norberg
Duke University
Department of Germanic Languages and Literature
School of Arts and Sciences
Old Chemistry 116
Durham, NC
USA
Es werden die Institutionen genannt, an denen das Vorhaben durchgeführt wurde, und nicht die aktuelle
Adresse.
13.01.2017
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