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Special Collection

“Rethinking ‘Minor Literatures’ – Contemporary Jewish Women’s Writing in Germany and Austria”

Collection launched: 04 Jun 2020

This special collection probes the productivity of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s much-debated notion of “minor literature” in the context of contemporary Jewish writing situated within the German-language literary landscape. This landscape is changing fast, partially due to a growing number of female-authored contributions. The various articles in this collection examine four important contemporary female Jewish writers (Barbara Honigmann, Eva Menasse, Katja Petrowskaja and Sasha Marianna Salzmann) who come from different cultural, generational and linguistic backgrounds, but all centre on questions of Jewish identity and writing in their respective oeuvres. By bringing these writers together with Deleuze and Guattari’s theory, and by focusing on literary strategies of expressing “being minor” more generally, this collection foregrounds a range of new issues that have not received a lot of attention in German-Jewish scholarship, such as questions of intersectionality, gender and labelling, but also debates on transculturalism, migration and futurity. The collection thus seeks to unmoor German-language Jewish writing from the narrowly defined context of national literatures in which it is often discussed, in an attempt to open it up to considerations around transnational and world literatures. Simultaneously, it suggests that Deleuze and Guattari’s framework can benefit immensely from being (re-)applied to its “original” – that is, the Jewish – context, not least by investigating the extent to which more recent theoretical approaches might complement and update their thinking.

The editors acknowledge the generous support of the AHRC for this special issue, which was prepared as part of the OWRI 'Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community' project.

Guest editors: Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex, Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu