How German Writers Fare vs. Clancy, Crichton, and Grisham

By Ruth Walker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 6, 1997 | Go to article overview

How German Writers Fare vs. Clancy, Crichton, and Grisham


Ruth Walker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


For browsers in European bookstores, particularly German ones, translations of fiction, whether from English or "from the American," seem as ubiquitous in the bookshop windows as Microsoft and McDonald's are elsewhere in the shopping districts. The evidence of Anglo-American cultural hegemony is overwhelming.

'Where are the German storytellers?' is the cry that echoes through the land of Goethe and Schiller. Is not a country's native literary culture something that should be at least partially exempt from the globalization evident in the mass merchandising of software or fast food?

This long-running discussion continues - amid signs, however, that German storytellers are alive and well, and scoring some big literary and commercial successes. Uwe Wittstock, an editor at S. Fischer Verlag in Frankfurt, and hitherto rather skeptical of contemporary German writers' ability to connect with the reading public, says, "The situation has changed in the last couple of years. We've had some notable successes with authors whose works combine both literary merit and entertainment - two qualities which have been seen as mutually exclusive until recently." One example he cites from his company's list is Josef Haslinger's novel "Opernball," premised on a (fictional) terrorist attack on the Opera Ball, the premier social event each year in Vienna. "He writes like John Grisham, but with the engagement of a Jean-Paul Sartre." Another is Michael Wildenhain's novel, "Erste Liebe, Deutscher Herbst," or "First Love, German Autumn." The particular autumn referred to is that of 1977, when Germany endured a spate of terrorist violence at the hands of the Red Army Faction. "He tells the story of a schoolboy who falls in love with a young woman involved in a terrorist group, and gets involved himself," Mr. Wittstock says. But the political story "is in the background," he adds, "the book itself is a love story." The traditional knock against German writers has been that they are often so serious, so political, and so full of Angst and gloom that they just haven't found much public acceptance. Wittstock sees German authors "learning from American models - John Updike, Philip Roth.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How German Writers Fare vs. Clancy, Crichton, and Grisham
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.