Thoroughly embedded in literary texts, the volume explores responses to location in Kraus, Hanns-Josef Ortheil, W. G. Sebald, Birgit Vanderbeke, Wolfgang Koeppen, Günter Grass, Ingeborg Bachmann, Franz Fühmann, Günter de Bruyn, Gert Neumann, Helga Schütz, and Christa Wolf. …

Simon Ward highlights how recent attention to sites of memory in Berlin has not been matched by study of how Berlin memory is mediated. His focus is on an exceptional and little-known figure: Wolfgang Koeppen, a writer whose postwar texts are informed by memories of the Weimar Berlin of the 1920s and 1930s. „A Coffeehouse“ („Ein Kaffeehaus,“ 1965) is a short memoir that reconstructs the history of the site of the Romanisches Café close to the Gedächtniskirche in West Berlin. „Tiergarten“ (1965) depicts the city’s formation over the centuries. Ward skillfully teases out the political references and literary allusions in a 1979 text, „Bless Our Exit, Our Entrance Also Bless“ („Unsern Ausgang segne, unsern Eingang gleichermaßen“), in which a journey by the overhead S-Bahn into the East Berlin of the GDR shifts in and out of the past.

David Clarke, Renate Rechtien, eds. The Politics of Place in Post-War Germany: Essays in Literary Criticism. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009. v + 291 pp. $119.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7734-4736-3.

Reviewed by Paul O’Hanrahan (University of Liverpool)
Published on H-German (November, 2010)