Poetics Of Resonance And Legacies Of Sound In German Literature Since 1989

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My dissertation analyzes two primary modes of engagement with sound in German literature since 1989. One is informed by the literary experiments of the interwar-and post-WWII avant-gardes, and the other is marked by vestiges of the manipulation of sound in Nazi and communist dictatorships. My first chapter examines complex relations between Herta Müller and Oskar Pastior, two Romanian writers of German ethnicity. By scrutinizing the relationship of these two authors to the Romanian avantgardes and their forms of experimentation in general (such as collage), I uncover both the potential of literary experiment to resist communist ideology and basic structures of untimeliness that Müller inherited from Pastior. The second chapter is dedicated to Marcel Beyer's prose and poetry, which testify to the influence of sound poetry and dub music on structures of contemporary prose. Beyer uses these innovative practices to recreate an imaginary East and explore unsuspected afterlives of colonialism and fascism in a present setting. My third chapter is devoted to the Turkish-German author Feridun Zaimoglu and his little discussed relation to the avant-garde. My discussion of Zaimoglu's work examines musical and ideological influences in his work, from the black power movement to rap aesthetics, but also probes the influence of the postcolonial Caribbean movement of négritude on his understanding and codification of sound. In my fourth chapter I address Thomas Kling's engagement with Dadaist experiments with sound as well as with the Wiener Gruppe's speech duets; I also show how Kling critically interprets these interwar and postwar traditions by recasting them in verses written under the sign of the digital. With this comparative study, I seek to contribute to the field of German studies as it intersects with the evolving scholarship on sound studies, media studies and performance studies, and I ask how the past of experimentation in its colonial, communist, and avant-gardist dimensions transforms and conditions the social and aesthetic textures of the present.

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Adelson, Leslie Allen

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McBride, Patrizia C.
Gilgen, Peter

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Germanic Studies

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Ph. D., Germanic Studies

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Doctor of Philosophy

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dissertation or thesis

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