This article considers the human-nature relationship in modern Heimat (homeland) discourse and its depiction in literary representations of Heimat. The first part examines the environmental turn in thinking on Heimat in the 1970s and shows how it was part of a wider shift in the understanding of Heimat, which has paralleled developments in both spatial and ecocritical theory. It proposes that literary representations of the homeland can facilitate an alternative form of dwelling involving a new kind of attachment to place and a nondualist relationship with nature. The second part analyzes Jenny Erpenbeck's novel Heimsuchung (Visitation, 2008) through Gernot Böhme's ecological nature aesthetics and the material ecocriticism of Jane Bennett and of Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann. Their respective “new humanist” and “posthumanist” theoretical frameworks offer insights into Erpenbeck's account of efforts to make the place described a home and of its function as homeland.
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Research Article| August 01 2016
Axel Goodbody; Heimat and the Place of Humans in the World: Jenny Erpenbeck's Heimsuchung in Ecocritical Perspective. New German Critique 1 August 2016; 43 (2 (128)): 127–151. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-3511907
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