Berlin's historically mottled topography has been widely discussed in fiction and nonfiction as have discussions of the city itself as a site on which German history has left marks and gaps that continue to gauge post-reunification Berlin literary portrayals. This essay addresses a significant shift in representations of post-reunification Berlin that affects how the city is seen and experienced. There is a visible tension in novels set in and partly based on Berlin's urban fabric between a perceived moral obligation to the past and a desire for contextualization in the literary production of post-Wende Berlin novels. Friedrich Christian Delius's Die Flatterzunge (1999), Günter Grass's Ein weites Feld (1995), Wladimir Kaminer's Schönhauser Allee (2001), and Tanja Dückers's Spielzone (1999) respond and contribute to the history and memory debates that renegotiated the memory of Nazism and the GDR in the decade following (and preceding) reunification. These “Berlin novels” offer wide-ranging perspectives on the city over a ten-year period through often-conflicting generational differences and thereby make possible a perspective that reveals how dissimilar representations of Berlin can be, indeed are, and in so doing underscore a generational shift in what is considered central to how Berlin is represented in fiction.
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Philip Broadbent; Generational Shifts: Representing Post-Wende Berlin. New German Critique 1 August 2008; 35 (2 (104)): 139–169. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2008-006
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