"Family is like a net. It attracts a whole century, branches out in all
possible areas, leaves behind ditches, digs deep trenches through
centuries, continents, and oceans. It has no beginning and no end, no
real limits or borders; it draws people in who have nothing to do with
it and turns them into accomplices and sufferers in misfortune [...]."
(from Anna Mitgutsch's family novel Familienfest, 2003)
This panel seeks papers on literature, media, art, and films of the 20th
and 21st centuries that portray the family in the German speaking world.
Family novels have dominated the German book market world for years.
Traditionally these works have been described as trivial literature -
read by the masses, but neglected by research. As soap-operas on TV,
family stories have attracted an even wider audience. Films related to
family topics often reap awards at film festivals. The prestigious
Deutscher Buchpreis has - since its inception in 2005 - been awarded to
five family novels. Each tells the story of a family against the
backdrop of recent German (Austrian and Swiss) history: Es geht uns gut
by Arno Geiger (2005); Die Habenichtse by Katharina Hacker (2006); Die
Mittagsfrau by Julia Franck (2007); Tauben fliegen auf by Melinda Nadj
Abonji (2010) and In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts by Eugen Ruge (2011).
According to author Monika Maron the Deutscher Buchpreis is mostly a
marketing award. Traditionally, the award catapults the recipient into a
multi-million dollar success story. However, receiving the award not
only transforms the works into bestsellers, it also establishes their
authors as esteemed canonical writers overnight.
This panel asks compelling questions, such as 'What is the family
novel's place in contemporary German literature?; What makes family
novels/family films/family shows so successful among German audiences?';
'What purpose does the family serve in art works about the history and
culture of the German-speaking world?'; 'What are the recurring themes
and overlapping topics in these works?'; 'How do these works reflect
changes in family life throughout the past 50 years?'; 'Why do so many
authors write about family-related topics and to what extent are their
works (semi-)autobiographical?'; 'Are there family novels that deviate
from the standard model, and if yes, in what ways?'
Please send abstracts (maximum 250 words) by January 31st to Dr. Julia
Baker (Tennessee Technological University) at [log in to unmask]
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html