The turbulent history of Austrian and German Jews during the twentieth century was accompanied by the production of a diverse and influential body of German-language literature by Jewish authors. Prior to World War Two, Jews played a crucial role in the cultural life of both Germany and Austria, and many of the most important figures within German modernism came from a Jewish background. Later on, following the near-destruction of Jewish communities in Austria and Germany in the Holocaust, a revitalisation of German Jewish culture occurred from the 1980s onward. As a result of this, Jewish writers began once more to contribute significantly to the diversity and vibrancy of German-language literature.
In this module, we will examine a range of German-Jewish works that were written at different points during the twentieth century. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship of the texts to their social and historical context, and to the role of literature in exploring interactions between the self and the 'other.'
All written texts are available in English translation, and all films are available with English subtitles, allowing students with little or no prior knowledge of German language or German cultural studies to engage with the materials