Academic journal article German Quarterly

Narrative and Fantasy in the Post-War German Novel. A Study of Novels by Johnson

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Narrative and Fantasy in the Post-War German Novel. A Study of Novels by Johnson

Article excerpt

Paver, Chloe M. Narrative and Fantasy in the Post-War German Novel. A Study of Novels by Johnson, Frisch, Wolf, Becker, and Grass. Oxford: Clarendon, 1999. xii +227 pp. $70.00

Those who graduate with a D. Phil. in Modern Languages and Literatures from Oxford University are very fortunate in having, under the imprint of the Clarendon Press, the chance to publish their dissertations in a very attractively produced series of monographs. This particular volume examines Uwe Johnson's Das dritte Buch fiber Achim, Max Frisch's Mein Name sei Gantenbein, Christa Wolf's Nachdenken fiber Christa T, Jurek Becker's Jakob der Lugner, and GUnter Grass' Ortlich betaubt, to some extent in the light of theories of narration by Eberhard Lammert, Kate Hamburger, Franz K, Stanzel, and Brian McHale that are discussed briefly in the first chapter. "While some of the texts demonstrate the positive powers of imagination," the jacket blurb tells us, others demonstrate the "tendency to falsify reality and to encourage escapist and violent fantasies." The book is, we are assured, "the first major study of this distinctive trend in post-war German fiction." The reality is, however, that this is a remarkably old-fashioned study, one that reads as if it were written twenty years ago; one cannot imagine such a dissertation topic being accepted in the U.S.A. in the Nineties.

As far as the general theme is concerned, the book offers no insights that The German Novel and the Affluent Society by R. …

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