German text crimes: writers accused, from the 1950s to the 2000s
Rodopi, Amsterdam/ New York, 2013, 242pp.
German Text Crimes offers new perspectives on scandals and legal actions implicating writers of German literature since the 1950s. Topics range from literary echoes of the "Heidegger Affair" to recent incitements to murder businessmen (agents of American neo-liberal power) in works by Rolf Hochhuth and others. GDR songwriters' cat-and-mouse games with the Stasi; feminist debates on pornography, around works by Charlotte Roche and Elfriede Jelinek; controversies over anti-Semitism, around Bernhard Schlink's Der Vorleser/ The Reader and Martin Walser's lampooning of the Jewish critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki; Peter Handke's pro-Serbian travelogue; the disputed editing of Ingeborg Bachmann's "Nachlass"; vexed relations between dramatists and directors; (ab)uses of privacy law to 'censor' contemporary fiction: these are among the cases of 'text crimes' discussed. Not all involve codified law, but all test relations between state power, civil society, media industries and artistic license
Introduction: incriminating texts – With Reflections on the justiciability of Esra and Leyla / Tom Cheesman
'Part woodcutter and part charlatan': Tom Paulin's Heidegger / Duncan Large
Writing wrongs: Ingeborg Bachmann's poetic drafts of the 1960s and their contemporary reception / Áine McMurtry
Offending the playwright: directors' theatre and the 'Werktreue' debate / David Barnett
Porn or porNO: approaches to pornography in Elfriede Jelinek's Lust and Charlotte Roche's Feuchtgebiete / Heike Bartel
Text crimes against the GDR's revolutionary heritage: the differing fates of Wolf Biermann and Wenzel and Mensching / David Robb
Martin Walser's Tod eines Kritikers: a 'crime' of anti-semitism? / Stuart Parkes
Justice for Peter Handke? / Karoline von Oppen
Text crimes in the shadow of the Holocaust: the case of Bernhard Schlink's Der Vorleser/The reader / Katharina Hall
Incitements to murder? The killing of businessmen in fiction and drama of the 2000s / Julian Preece.
Tom Cheesman is Reader German at Swansea University