Distributed for University of Wales Press
Herta Müller is one of the leading figures in the new generation of German writers. An ethnic German born in the Romanian Banat, she first came to prominence with her scathing yet poetic depiction of the anti-idyll of village life, Niederungen (1982).The literary texts and essays which followed catalogued the decline of the Romanian-German community and the degredations of daily life in Ceauescu's Romania. Reflecting Müller's move to West Berlin in 1987, the seminal novel Reisende auf einem Bein (1989) deals with the postmodern uncertainties of modern city life and casts a critical eye on contemporary German society. It was followed by further `autofictional' texts exploring totalitarian rule and the `Angst' it engenders. The Land of Green Plums, the English translation of the densely structured novel Herztier (1994), based on Müller's experience of political repression in Romania, has recently achieved widespread international recognition though the award of the prestigious Dublin-IMPAC Prize.
The first book in English to be devoted exclusively to Herta Müller, this collection of essays is intended both as an introduction for the general reader and a resource for the specialist. It contains ten previously unpublished short texts by Müller, together with a revealing interview and a biographical outline. Six essays by British and German academics interpret key texts in detail and assess vital aspects of Müller's entire oeuvre. The essays are complemented by the fullest bibliography on Müller published since 1991.
“. . . continues the stimulating series of monographs on contemporary German writers . . . this volume will promote further interest in a challenging, yet fascinating, writer.” –The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies
“ . . . a welcome addition to the Contemporary German Writers series . . . an excellent volume that fulfils its aim and that of the series by providing both an overview and high-quality material for the specialist.” –MLR
“. . . Brigid Haines’s collection of essays is the first book in English devoted to Muller’s work and is certainly to be welcomed by American and British scholars . . . In short, this collection of essays is the best study to date devoted to Muller’s oeuvre and is a valuable contribution not only to German studies, but also to the wider fields of culture studies, ethnic studies, and feminist studies.” –Journal of English and Germanic Philology
“. . . it is the first study of the writer in English and provides a well rounded and stimulating introduction for the new reader to this challenging author, as well as being a useful resource for those carrying out specialised research.” –Deutsch: Lehren und Lernen
“An ethnic German born in the Romanian Banat, Herta Müller, who left Romania for West Berlin in 1987, is among the leading voices in contemporary German literature. This volume is both an excel- lent introduction to her work and a resource for the specialist reader. It contains ten previously unpublished poems by Müller and an interview in which the author reflects on some of her central themes, followed by six essays which give a broad-ranging insight into her work. Müller is obviously not concerned with fashionable themes or theoretical positions. More important to her are the development of a concept of morality as a tool of resistance, and of a narrative strategy which enables her to expose and subvert political repression. Her use of metaphor and metonymy, her insistent focus on detail, her use of memory and myth are dealt with as functions of her political and narrative strategies (Haines, von Hoff, Midgley, Schmidt, White). What enriches the reading of Müller's texts in this volume are references to contemporaries from other cultures, including Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and, most explicitly, Libuse Monikovii (Littler). Müller thus emerges as both a "local" and a thoroughly international voice.” –Forum for Modern Language Studies