Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film, and Other Media
Editor: Jill E. Twark
Date Of Publication: Mar 2011
The fourteen chapters in this anthology feature original analyses of contemporary German-language literary texts, films, political cartoons, cabaret, and other types of performance. The artworks display a wide spectrum of humor modes, such as irony, satire, the grotesque, Jewish humor, and slapstick, as responses to unification with the accompanying euphoria, but also alienation and dislocation. Kerstin Hensel’s Lärchenau, Christoph Hein’s Landnahme, and vignette collections by Jakob Hein (Antrag auf ständige Ausreise und andere Mythen der DDR) and Wladimir Kaminer (Es gab keinen Sex im Sozialismus) are interpreted as examples of the grotesque. The popular films Lola rennt, Sonnenallee, Herr Lehmann, NVA, Alles auf Zucker!, and Mein Führer—Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler are reexamined through the lens of traditional and more recent humor or comic book theories. The contributors focus on how each artwork enriches four prominent postwall German cultural trends: post-unification identity reconstruction, Vergangenheitsbewältigung (including Hitler humor), New German Popular Literature (Christian Kracht’s ironic subtexts), and immigrant perspectives (a “third voice” in the East-West binary reflected here pointedly in Eulenspiegel cartoons). To date, no other scholarly work provides as comprehensive an overview of the diverse strategies of humor used in the past two decades in German-speaking countries.
Jill E. Twark is Associate Professor of German at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, USA. She has published widely on the topic of humor and satire in post-unification eastern German novels and cabaret. Her monograph Humor, Satire, and Identity: Eastern German Literature in the 1990s was published in 2007.
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