Article: PDF
DOI: 10.26170/FK19-04-21
Abstract: The article is devoted to the study of modern German-language prose in the aspect of the problems of self-reflection of literature. It is argued that among the many genre invariants of the metanovel there is a novel about reading, where the plot organization is built around the image of the reading activity of a literary hero. Reading books is likened to the rite of initiation: the hero turns to a literary work as a source of sacred knowledge, able to provide him with answers to his questions. In the process of getting acquainted with literature, the character endeavors to draw moral lessons from books, to use them as a way of understanding oneself and the outside world. The similar development of action is found in the novels Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink and Neue Mitte by Jochen Schimmang, that served as material for the article. The creativity of two writers, on the one hand, brings together a commitment to the traditions of post-war literature, and on the other hand, appears to be an appeal to metaliterary thought. The purpose of the article is to analyze the functioning of the image of the hero-reader in the novels of B. Schlink and J. Shimmang. The methodology of the study is synthetic. The methods of the study include intertextual, historical-cultural and comparative-historical methods. It is proved that both B. Schlink and J. Shimmang reproduce the classical mythology of the book, according to which literary literature is an integral element of enlightenment and human perfection. However, these authors interpret the question of the role of literature in life in different ways. If B. Schlink shows the positive influence of literature on his heroine, while in J. Schimmang’s example the utopian idea of the humanistic effectiveness of literature is destroyed, casting doubt on its consistency in the role of cultural-creating practice. The results of the analysis not only illustrate the features of the literary process in Germany of the XX–XXI centuries, but also outline the prospects for further research, particularly the study of the poetological features of novels about the reader.

For citation

Biktimirov, V. E. Great Expectations vs. Lost Illusions: a Hero-Reader in a Modern German Novel (Based on the Works of B. Schlink Der Vorleser and J. Schimmang Neue Mitte) / V. E. Biktimirov . In Philological Class. 2019. №4 (58). P. 163-169. DOI 10.26170/FK19-04-21.