Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945
The Inner Side of Mourning

Stephanie Bird

Germanic Literatures 10

Legenda

19 December 2016  •  240pp

ISBN: 978-1-909662-95-7 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781883-12-9 (paperback, 30 September 2018)  •  RRP £9.99, $12.50, €12.50

ISBN: 978-1-781883-13-6 (JSTOR ebook)

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Comedy is often held to be incompatible with trauma and suffering; it triggers anxiety and moral disquiet around the pleasure we take in reading or watching another’s pain. Such concern is particularly acute in relation to suffering that has assumed the status of a cultural trauma, such as that caused by the Holocaust and the Second World War. This long overdue study explores the significance of the comical in German and Austrian postwar cultural representations of suffering. It analyses how the comical challenges the expectations and ethics of representing suffering and trauma. It does so, moreover, by critically examining dominant paradigms which currently enjoy so much status – such as that of trauma and the nowadays automatic validity and universal applicability of victim identity. The study focuses on the work of Ingeborg Bachmann, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, W. G. Sebald, Volker Koepp, Reinhard Jirgl, Ruth Klüger, Edgar Hilsenrath and Jonathan Littell.

Dr Stephanie Bird is Professor of German Studies at University College London.

Reviews:

  • ‘This study offers an original and distinctive approach which illuminates key aspects of the chosen works while also enhancing the highly complex nature of mourning.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 54.4, October 2018, 506 (full text online)
  • ‘A fresh perspective on comedy and the complex roles comedic devices have played in postwar German-language literature and lm and in discussions of trauma.’ — Corey L. Twitchell, German Studies Review 42.1, February 2019, 176-178 (full text online)

Contents:

i-vi
Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945: Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945
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vii-viii
Table of Contents
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ix-ix
Acknowledgments
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x-x
Abbreviations
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1-30
Introduction: Comedy, Trauma, and the Ethics of Representation
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31-57
Chapter 1 Ingeborg Bachmann: Comedy and the Women’s Weepie
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58-83
Chapter 2 Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Ludicrous Melodrama and Comic Double Vision
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84-109
Chapter 3 W. G. Sebald: Melancholy’s Seduction and the Pleasures of Comedy
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110-143
Chapter 4 Volker Koepp and Reinhard Jirgl: Comedy and Monologic Histories
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144-166
Chapter 5 Ruth Klüger: Comedy and Ressentiment
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167-198
Chapter 6 Edgar Hilsenrath and Jonathan Littell: Perpetrators, Comedy, and the Fantasy of Justice
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199-203
Conclusion
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204-218
Bibliography
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219-230
Index
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Bibliography entry:

Bird, Stephanie, Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945: The Inner Side of Mourning, Germanic Literatures, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016)

First footnote reference: 35 Stephanie Bird, Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945: The Inner Side of Mourning, Germanic Literatures, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Bird, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Bird, Stephanie. 2016. Comedy and Trauma in Germany and Austria after 1945: The Inner Side of Mourning, Germanic Literatures, 10 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Bird 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Bird 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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