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n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Postkoloniale Prosaliteratur zwischen Einfühlungs- und Rezeptionsästhetik
Zur (Erzähl-)Perspektive »der Anderen« bei Gerhard Seyfried, Dietmar Beetz und in Giselher W. Hoffmanns Die schweigenden Feuer (1994) : teil 1 : Afrika schreiben
Postcolonial prose literature between an aesthetics of empathy and reader response criticism. Narrative perspectives of the other in Gerhard Seyfried, Dietmar Beetz and in Giselher W. Hoffmann's Die schweigenden Feuer (1994)
Postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak's ultimate refusal to speak on behalf of any subaltern subject, colonial or postcolonial, has its counterpart in Uwe Timm's assumption that narratives in German which deal with the colonial past in late 19th and early 20th century Africa should not be focalized through representatives of the formerly colonized cultures. Both assume a near inability to tune in to their worldview and argue that narratives which are focalized through the eyes of the »cultural Other« too often include a belated, if perhaps involuntary, superimposition of Eurocentric viewpoints and the ventilation of neo-colonial attitudes. By reference to Giselher W. Hoffmann's Die schweigenden Feuer, a novel that is narrated by a Herero protagonist, this essay takes a different stance. It claims that the effect of irritation and perplexity which a German reader-audience experiences when confronted with the Herero culture »as told from within« amounts to what reader response critic Wolfgang Iser calls a negation of accepted standards and norms, which in its turn harbours the possibility to reflect upon and question one's own (post-)coloniality-related set of assumptions.
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