Transforming the Center, Eroding the Margins: Essays on Ethnic and Cultural Boundaries in German-speaking Countries

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Camden House, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 324 pages
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Transforming the Center, Eroding the Marginsis a collection ofcritical articles about recent and contemporary German literaturedesigned to stimulate discussion about German-speaking culture from thepoint of view of diversity. The combination of broad historicalapproaches and detailed textual analyses made it possible to present inthis volume a spectrum of identities and positions within theGerman-speaking sphere, and sometimes even within the work of a singleauthor. Examining the works of German-speaking authors of differentbackgrounds and countries of residence from many different points ofview shows that the very concept of a unified "German Culture" is aconstruct.Because of the increasing visibility of various ethnic, religious, cultural, and economic groups -- including migrant workers, exiles, and immigrants -- multiculturalism and cultural diversity inCentral Europe have received considerable attention in public debatesince the disintegration of the Eastern bloc and the fall of the BerlinWall. Yet neither cultural diversity nor the gender issues examinedthroughout the volume are recent phenomena. Upon closer scrutiny thenotions of center and margin are shown to have origins in the nineteenthcentury and before.The articles in this volume, distinct in theirapproaches and each one concerned with specific situations, reveal anongoing decline of mainstream discourse: the erosion of the cultural"center," and a strengthening of what continues to be referred to as"marginal." The literary and intellectual production of groups that areseen as marginal is becoming ever more compelling and visible, as isdocumented in Transforming the Center, Eroding the Margin

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About the author (1998)

Dagmar Lorenz is a professor of German at The Ohio State University. She is the coeditor of "Insiders and Outsiders: Jewish and Gentile Culture in Germany and Austria.

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