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Literature of Movement: Trends, Developments, and Prospects in Transcultural Literature as Exemplified by Contemporary German-Language Texts Open Access


Other title
transnational literature
literature of movement
routeless reading
transcultural literature
intercultural literature
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Petersen, Katelyn J
Supervisor and department
Smith-Prei, Carrie (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Herrmann, Elisabeth (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Gerstenberger, Katharina (Department of Languages and Literature, University of Utah)
Misfeldt, Kim (Augustana Campus)
Brigandt, Ingo (Philosophy)
Luhmann, Susanne (Women's and Gender Studies)
van Peer, Willie (Institut fuer Deutsch als Fremdsprache, Ludwig-Maximilians University)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Germanic Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The questions of categorizing, describing, and critically engaging with different types of literature require constant attention. This is particularly true in the case of literature that is rapidly changing, such as the body of works that has until now been referred to as intercultural, transcultural, or transnational literature written in German. By analyzing an exemplary corpus of texts written in German after the turn of the millennium – including Der Weltensammler (2006) and Nomade auf vier Kontinenten (2007) by Ilija Trojanow, Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert (2006) by Sasa Stanišić, Alle Tage (2004) by Terézia Mora, and Zwischen zwei Träumen (2009) by Selim Özdogan – I identify a new literary phenomenon which transcends existing categories such as intercultural, transcultural, and transnational literature and for which a new descriptor may be necessary. Expanding upon the work of Romance scholar Ottmar Ette, I propose the term “literature of movement” in order to develop analytical tools to embrace this/a new kind of literature developing out of ever more rapid globalization. Following the identification of seven trends in the text corpus, “literature of movement” is defined in this dissertation as literature that reflects the lived practices of movement and travel by using/employing/exerting motion in a trifold way - thematically, systemically, and stylistically – in order to facilitate the self-reflexive examination of narrative and narration itself. A crucial product of the instances of thematic, systemic, and stylistic movement exemplified by this text corpus is an increasing demand placed on the reader to navigate texts without the assistance of conventional narratological strategies such as consistent narrative perspectives, identifiable settings, or the ability to situate characters culturally and ethnically. I introduce the term “routeless reading” to describe a reading experience that mirrors, or even reproduces, the ever-increasing mobility exhibited by individuals in the era of globalization, and the attendant sensations of uncertainty and dis-integration of identity. The result of the textual analysis conducted in this thesis constitutes an attempt to introduce a new and flexible concept, literature of movement, that will enable engagement with, and discussion of, texts being produced now and in the future.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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