n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Intertextuelles
Postkoloniale Erzählverfahren im Ostafrika-Kapitel von Ilija Trojanows (2006) : teil 1 : Afrika schreiben

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



To rewrite colonial history from a postcolonial perspective is always a challenging enterprise. This is even more true in the case of German literature where, in contrast to other European literatures, the notion of ›the empire writes back‹ does not apply. The problem of how to ›adequately‹ remember a common past and represent the colonial ›other‹ in a non-reductive, non-humiliating way therefore seems to be especially complex in the German context, as the example of Uwe Timm's (1978) in this essay illustrates. In contrast to Timm who deliberately avoided imagining the point of view of ›the other‹, Ilija Trojanow's recent novel (2006) makes excessive use of an aesthetics of empathy, thus realising what in accordance to Said's postcolonial reading practice might be called ›contrapuntal writing‹. In spite of their divergent politics of representation, these two outstanding postcolonial German texts surprisingly meet in a decisive aspect of ›form‹ : both offer an aesthetic reflection of their representational dilemma. In the case of Morenga, this is achieved by Timm's use of magic realism (the narrating cattle), whereas Trojanow problematises his theoretically contested strategy of representation via intertextuality and takes back a great deal of his overbearing empathy by referring to anglophone East-African rewritings, namely Abdulrazak Gurnah's Paradise (1994) and Moyez G. Vassanji's (1989).

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