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Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic

Reading through the Iron Curtain

Edited by Nicole Moore and Christina Spittel


A genuinely collaborative, cross-cultural examination of the publication and reception of Australian literature in the German Democratic Republic, this work is a revealing case study for newly global accounts of the cultural Cold War.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781783085231
June 2016 | 274 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 27 tables and figures
PRICE:  £70.00  /  $115.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

‘A compelling case study of the cultural Cold War and its effect on literary exchange.’ — Professor Wenche Ommundsen, University of Wollongong

‘This is considered, nuanced scholarship of a high order, [with] surprising and illuminating results, far beyond what might have been thought possible … There are few works of cultural history that offer such a stark and startling dialogic opening-up.’ — Professor Nicholas Jose, University of Adelaide

Exploring the imaginative construction of the post-colonial South by the communist East, this is a multi-faceted, collaborative study of the reception of Australian literature in the German Democratic Republic. An account of fraught and complex cross-cultural literary exchange between two highly distinct, even uniquely opposed reading contexts, this study has resonance for all newly global reckonings of the cultural Cold War.

Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic is an investigative exposé of Australian literature’s revealing career in East Germany. Working from the extraordinary records of the East German publishing and censorship regime, the authors materially track the production and reception of one country’s corpus as envisioned by another. The 90 Australian titles published in the GDR form an alternative canon, revealing a shadowy literary archive that rewrites Australia’s postwar cultural history from behind the iron curtain. Cast as a geo-political conundrum – beautiful and exotic, yet politically retrograde – Australia was presented to East German readers as an impossible, failed utopia, its literature framed through a critique of Antipodean capitalism that yet reveals multiple ironies for that heavily censored, walled-in community.

This book brings together leading German and Australian scholars in the fields of book history, German and Australian cultural history, Australian and postcolonial literatures, and postcolonial and cross-cultural theory, with emerging writers currently navigating between the two cultures.

Readership: Scholars of literature and history, researchers and students of comparative literatures and the cultural Cold War

Author Information

Nicole Moore is a professor of English at the University of New South Wales and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow.

Christina Spittel is a lecturer in English at the University of New South Wales.

Table of Contents

Introduction - South by East: World literature’s Cold-War Compass, Nicole Moore and Christina Spittel; PART I: Contexts and Frames; 1. Censorship, Australian Literature and Foreign Language Books in East German Publishing History, Siegfried Lokatis; 2. Towards a Cross-Border Canon: Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life Behind the Wall, Russell West-Pavlov; 3. Community, Difference, Context: (Re)reading the Contact Zone, Jennifer Wawrzinek; PART II: Books and Writers; 4. Sedition as Realism: Frank Hardy’s Power without Glory Parts the Iron Curtain, Nicole Moore; 5. Katharine Susannah Prichard, Dymphna Cusack and ‘Women on the Path of Progress’, Camille Barrera; 6. Walter Kaufmann: Walking the Tightrope, Alexandra Ludewig; 7. Fictionalising Australia for the GDR: Adventure Writer Joachim Specht, Patricia F. Blume; 8. ‘To Do Something for Australian Literature’: Anthologising Australian Literature for the German Democratic Republic of the 1970s, Christina Spittel; PART III: Literary Exchange; 9. ‘There I’m a nobody, here I’m a Marxian writer’: Australian Writers in the East, Susan Lever; 10. Behind the Wall through Australian Eyes: Anna Funder’s Stasiland, Leah Gerber; 11. ‘Because it was Exotic, because it was so Far Away’: Bernhard Scheller in Conversation with Christina Spittel

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