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Problematizing the Self in the Russian-Jewish Exile Literature of the 1920s in Berlin

Project Lead
Prof. Dr. Matthias Freise (Göttingen)
Britta Korkowsky (Göttingen)

One of the chief characteristics of exile literature is its problematizing of the Self. Using selected works by Viktor Šklovskij, Lev Lunc, Il'ja Ėrenburg, Vladislav Chodasevič, and Boris Pasternak, the project will explore how this problematization is undertaken in the texts. To this end, they will be examined from various perspectives, with a particular emphasis on the authors’ relationship to religion and especially the Jewish cultural tradition.

Perceptions of the new environment in exile in Berlin as compared to the author’s country of origin will be studied in order to discover how the author located himself in relation to it. Intertextual references, in particular, serve to emphasize such relationships within the works.

Various literary methods can be adopted in order to create distance. The ambivalence between relationship and distance in which cultural identity emerges constitutes the attraction and the challenge of the texts written by Russian-Jewish émigrés.

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