German Literature

German Literature
  • German authors
  • Literature in the Middle Ages
  • 16th, 17th and 18th century literature
  • Enlightenment literature
  • Romantic literature
  • Naturalist and Expressionist literature
  • 20th century literature
  • German war and post-war literature
  • Contemporary literature

Contemporary Literature in Germany

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, not only have the Republic of Germany and the former Democratic Republic united, but the reunification process has also touched literature on both sides. Writers from former Eastern Germany such as Christa Wolf, Hermann Kant or Christoph Hein, had a hard time making themselves heard. Renowned West German writers on the other hand, such as Günter Grass, Hans Magnus Enzensberger or Martin Walter, lost no prestige at all.

The debates generated in the 1990's were mainly based on the story What Remains by Christa Wolf [1990], the connections between the now disappeared GDRs intelligence forces with the Ministry of State Security [Stasi], the novel A Wide Field [1995] by Grass, the account of Peter Handke's journey, Justice for Serbia, or the speech made by Martin Walser on how German history is overcome.

As to the young authors of the 1990's, the East Germans broached totally different themes to the West Germans. It is impossible to talk of a reunited literature.

Today the books that are appearing on the market have been written mainly by authors born in the seventies and eighties. They represent popular literature and are ideal spokesmen and women of their own generation. Their topics range from social, political, environmental subjects to relationship stories, satires and self-help books. There is a tendency towards the strong commercialization of literature and the satisfaction of the ordinary parts of a consumer society.

Many young writers of pop literature spread hedonistic view of the world and a life-inspiring feeling through their writing, which is received best among the young generation devoted to pleasure. Contemporary authors include, among others, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre, Christian Kracht or Florian Illies. Authors such as Benjamin Stuckrad-Barre flirt with audiovisual means of expression and generally like to provoke. A few years down the road will show if their initial success was just a fleeting phenomenon of its time.