Edited Book Details
Mandatory Fields
Gert Hofmann, Rachel MagShamhráin, Marko Pajevic, Michael Shields
German and European Poetics after the Holocaust: Crisis and Creativity
Camden House
Rochester NY
Optional Fields
Holocaust, poetics, literary theory, crisis, creativity, German, European

International Conference at the Queen’s University Belfast, organised in co-operation with Marko Pajevic, QUB, in June 2008. Book publication with Camden House Publishers in 2011:

“Crisis, as a period of crucial transition, also opens the field of established perceptions for motions of change and creativity. Adorno’s famous dictum that to write poetry after Auschwitz would be barbaric, as much as it has haunted poetical discourse, has also given rise to a variety of endeavours seeking to transform its seeming sense of negativism into artistic and literary acts of resistance. Entirely new beginnings seemed necessary to those who considered the humanist tradition to have lost all credibility, yet nevertheless wanted to address the growing sense of artistic innocence lost. Such challenges have ranged from Adorno’s own dialectical theory of literary commitment and aesthetic avant-garde to more recent propositions describing certain kinds of literature as acts of testimony (Levinas et al.) and processes of survival (Agamben). 

Embedded in the theoretical discourse triggered by Adorno and others focal points are the oeuvres of Paul Celan, Gottfried Benn and Ingeborg Bachmann, their frictions and mutual contradictions with regards to the meaning of poetical traditions. A second historical stage of the post-war literary discourse is marked by the writings of Heiner Műller, emphasising the significance of figures of discontinuity. Further German authors who are being discussed are Nelly Sachs, Charlotte Beradt, Rose Ausländer, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, Thomas Kling, and Uwe Timm. The final section of the volume is committed to comparative explorations, dealing with European authors of particular importance such as Jean Paul Sartre, André Malraux, and Danilo Kiš.
Among the contributors are Rüdiger Görner (London), Gisela Dischner (Hannover), Chris Bezzel (Hannover), and Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa (National University of Ireland, Galway).


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