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„«Współczesność» oznacza okres jednej generacji”. Uwagi do próby określenia literatury współczesnej

Carsten Gansel i Elisabeth Herrmann

“«Contemporary» Times are the Times of One Generation”. Remarks on Attempt to Define Contemporary Literature

In critical reflection of the literary debates that arose around a new generation of authors in Germany from the late 1980s until the beginning of the new millennium this article establishes a definition of contemporary literature by focusing on the concurrency and interplay of literary production and a specific zeitgeist as well as actual cultural and political developments which take place in a certain period of time. While ‘the present’ marks a span of time which features an alterable beginning and an unforeseeable ending and continuously moves forward on the time scale, ‘contemporary literature’ can, the authors argue, still be defined based on a specific atmosphere and joint horizon of experience shared by a generation or certain group of people. The article makes a case for embracing the year 1989 not only as a political and cultural caesura within Germany’s contemporary history but also as a demarcation line that heralded a new era in German literature which has been shaped and given distinction by the current generation of both East and West Germans.