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European Literatures of Military Occupation

Shared Experience, Shifting Boundaries, and Aesthetic Affections

Matthias Buschmeier (Editor), Jeanne E. Glesener (Editor),

Category: Literature

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462704077

Publication date: June 19, 2024

€37.00 (including 6% VAT)


Number of pages: 360

Size: 234 x 156 x mm

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Universität Bielefeld
Universität Luxemburg

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Category: Literature

Language: English

ISBN: 9789461665911

Publication date: September 9, 2024


Number of pages: 360

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Universität Bielefeld
Universität Luxemburg

Category: Literature

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461665546

ISBN: 9789461665546

Publication date: June 14, 2024

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Number of pages: 360

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Universität Bielefeld
Universität Luxemburg


Occupation literature: a new perspective on European identities

What does it mean to live under occupation? How does it shape the culture and identities of European nations? How does it affect the way we write and read literature? These are fundamental questions that set the stage for an in-depth exploration. Focusing on the literary works of writers from various European countries that were occupied by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the Allies during and after World War II, the contributions in this edited volume seek to unravel the complex interplay between historical circumstances and literary expression. Centered on the concept of occupation literature as a genre in its own right, differentiating it from ‘war literature’, the book navigates this subtle distinction, drawing connections with the Holocaust novel and extending the timeframe beyond Nazi occupation.

European Literatures of Military Occupation argues that the multifaceted experiences of occupation have played a pivotal role in shaping European identities. Moreover, the volume links European identities to the experience of occupation by unveiling the complex and diverse ways in which writers respond to historical and political circumstances. Introducing the concept of ‘affective realism’ and exploring its intersection with the occupation novel, the book provides nuanced insights into the intricate relationship between history, identity, and literature. It combines theoretical perspectives relevant to researchers in the humanities with detailed case studies, generating a truly interdisciplinary perspective, enriched by a strong transnational dimension, creating a cohesive narrative that intervenes innovatively in the fields of literary, cultural, and historical criticism.

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Contributors: Klaus-Michael Bogdal (Bielefeld University), Jan Andres (Bielefeld University), Benedikts Kalnačs (University of Latvia), Stefan Laffin (Leibnitz University of Hannover), Daniela Lieb (Centre national de littérature, Luxembourg), Atinati Mamatsashvil (Ilia State University), Christopher Meid (University of Freiburg), Aleksandar Momčilović (independent scholar), Jeroen Olyslaegers (independent literary author), Joanna Rzepa (University of Essex), Sandra Schell (Heidelberg University), Meinolf Schumacher (Bielefeld University), Stefanie Siess (Heidelberg University)


European Literatures of Military Occupation: An Introduction to the Topic and Terminology of the Genre
Matthias Buschmeier


Introduction to Part 1
Jeanne E. Glesener

Chapter 1. SCARS. Writing on Occupation: The Reality Effect of Narrative and Psychogeographical Space, or The Case of Wil
Jeroen Olyslaegers

Chapter 2. Affective Realism: The Literature of Occupation through Regions and Ages − Vercors’ Le Silence de la mer (1942), Willem Frederik Hermans’ De donkere kamer van Damokles (1958), and Cătălin Mihuleac’s America de peste pogrom (2014)
Matthias Buschmeier


Introduction to Part 2
Jeanne E. Glesener

Chapter 3. Military Occupation as Tourism? Griechenland. Ein Buch aus dem Kriege (1942) and Ölberge, Weinberge (1953) by Erhart Kästner
Christopher Meid

Chapter 4. Banished from an Occupied Exile: Rudolf Borchardt’s Anabasis Fragment (1944)
Jan Andres

Chapter 5. German Writers as Occupiers and Occupied: Franco-German Representations in the Works of Felix Hartlaub (1940–1941) and Tami Oelfken (1945–1955)
Stefanie Siess

Chapter 6. Literary Representations of Occupied Cities: Tbilisi, Paris, and Luxembourg
Atinati Mamatsashvili

Chapter 7. Semantics of Occupation(s) in Pierre Grégoire’s Europäische Suite Trilogy: Catholicism, Anticommunism, and the Idea of Luxembourgish Exceptionalism
Daniela Lieb


Introduction to Part 3
Jeanne E. Glesener

Chapter 8. Setting the Stage for an Immediate Historicization? Early Sense-Making of the Allied Occupation of Italy between Fictionalized Accounts, War Novels, and Propaganda (1943–1947)
Stefan Laffin

Chapter 9. Literature from Below: Literary Competitions in Serbia (1941–1945) and in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (1939–1945)
Aleksandar Momčilović

Chapter 10. Translating Occupied Poland into English, 1939–1955
Joanna Rzepa

Chapter 11. How to Handle the New Occupiers? Margret Boveri’s Amerikafibel für erwachsene Deutsche: Ein Versuch, Unverstandenes zu erklären (1946)
Sandra Schell


Introduction to Part 4
Jeanne E. Glesener

Chapter 12. “It was over. Düsseldorf was dead”—Narratives of a Renewed Occupation
Klaus-Michael Bogdal

Chapter 13. Reflections on Twentieth-Century Military Occupations in Latvian and Estonian Novels
Benedikts Kalnačs

Chapter 14. Occupied by Comrades? The Concealed Story of the Soviet Military Presence in Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania after 1945 in Uwe Johnson’s Jahrestage (1970–1983)
Meinolf Schumacher

List of Contributors

Matthias BuschmeierORCID icon

Matthias Buschmeier is an associate professor (Akademischer Direktor) for German Literature in the European Context at Bielefeld University.

Jeanne E. GlesenerORCID icon

Jeanne E. Glesener is an associate professor in Luxembourgish Literature at Université du Luxembourg.

European Literatures of Military Occupation, 1938-55 establishes ‘occupation literature’ as a distinct generic category. Rather than fighters, as does the war novel, occupation literature portrays civilians entangled in complex and often ambivalent relationships with the invader. The volume makes a bold claim that it is indeed the experience of occupation that forms the basis for European identity. It therefore becomes an important intervention at the time when Brexit and the widespread rise of populism have put in jeopardy the shared sense of Europeanness, while the war in Ukraine has reminded Europeans of the importance of unity and solidarity in the face of external threats. - Prof. Helena Duffy - University of Wroclaw

War is back in Europe, and, less noticed, so is occupation. This volume reminds us how World War II occupations have been represented in literature. Very timely and important! - Tatjana Tönsmeyer, Bergische Universität Wuppertal

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