This PhD project is concerned with contemporary (mostly Post-Wall) British literary discourses of Germany and its culture. It analyses what literary discourses project onto an area that was once known as ‘enemy territory’ and examines why and how Germany is used as a setting. By choosing a geo-centered approach, in which the site determines the corpus, I hope to discover patterns in British literary discourses of Germany that appear to be specific to that particular place. As first-hand memory of wartime Germany is diminishing, we are experiencing a shift from communicative to a more institutionalised cultural memory which affects the discourses. It seems that this time distance to World War Two has reawakened writers’ interest in Germany as a setting and has produced more narratives that move away from themes directly associated with war.
A preliminary research phase has unveiled that quantum physics, psychoanalysis and homosexuality are prevalent recurring themes in the British literary discourses of Germany. These themes are now to be examined more closely and in relation to each other. In order to discuss the characteristics of Germany as a setting in British literary discourses, they will also be analysed in connection to their literary space and will be set in context with British cultural memory of Germany and its culture.