Book Beat: February 1998

Beyond 1989: Re-reading German Literature Since 1945Beyond 1989: Re-reading German Literature Since 1945

edited by Keith Bullivant, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
(Berghahn Books, 1998)
Available through Amazon

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, four decades of separation seemed to have been brought to an end. In the literary arena as in many others, this seemed to be the surprising but ultimately logical end to the situation in which, after the extreme separation of the two Germanies' literatures during most of the period up to 1980, an increasing closeness could be observed during the 1980s, as relations between the two German states normalized. With the opening up of the East in the autumn of 1989, claims were being made, on the one hand, that German literature had never, in fact, been divided, while others were proclaiming the end of East and West German literatures as they had existed, and the beginning of a new era. This volume examines these claims and other aspects of literary life in the two Germanies since 1945, with the hindsight born of unification in 1990, and looks as well at certain aspects of developments since the fall of the Wall, when, as one East German put it in 1996, rapprochement came to an end.

- Publisher


The purpose of this essay is not, however, to debate the extent to which Germany had a unified literature before 1990, but to highlight the problems that political division posed to creative activity. If we assume that literature functioned as a type of ersatz public sphere (Herminghouse, 85), then we need to examine the structures that enabled or hindered literature from entering the public domain. Indeed, in examining specifically texts and writers that have crossed borders, we can draw conclusions about the role that writers in one Germany played in the other, and the way that literature was public in both states.

Semiotic Psychology: Speech as an Index of Emotions and Attitudes

Semiotic PsychologyNorman Markel, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
(Peter Lang Publishing, 1998)
Available through Amazon

Semiotic Psychology is a special and selective history that focuses on naturally occurring language and its meanings. A review of classic studies from the 1930s through the 1950s shows how content analysis can examine discourse as diverse as plays and psychiatric interviews. This book provides the foundations of semiotic psychology, including its methodological and theoretical origins in psychology and anthropological linguistics, and illuminates the impact of cultural forces on thinking, emotion, attitude, and communication. It draws together the major threads underlying classic studies in the field, integrating theories that may never have appeared together previously. Semiotic Psychology will be of interest to semioticians, sociologists, social and clinical psychologists, linguistic anthropologists, cognitivists, and social scientists utilizing content analysis.

- Publisher


Some of the hostility towards traditional psychological methods shown by discourse analysts in sociology, linguistics, and even social psychology undoubtedly stems from the lack of sophistication in behavioral coding. Perhaps what is more important, the class studies in this book show how psychological and linguistic analyses can be combined to produce coding systems that take account of both aspects of behavior; that is, a semiotically based analysis.

Science, Vine, and Wine in Modern FranceScience, Vine, and Wine in Modern France

Henry W. Paul, Department of History
( Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Available through Amazon

Science, Vine, and Wine in Modern France examines the role of science in the civilization of wine in modern France. Viticulture, the science of the vine itself, and oenology, the science of winemaking, are its subjects. Together, they can boast of at least two major triumphs: the creation of the post-phylloxera vines that repopulated late nineteenth-century vineyards devastated by the disease and an understanding of the complex structure of wine that eventually resulted in the development of the wide-spread wine models of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. Paul provides an extended discussion of the importance of Louis Pasteur and Jean-Antoine Chaptal to the development of oenology; detailing the role of research in the production of wine in the Champagne, Burgundy, the Languedoc, and Bordeaux regions. Along the way, he questions the popular idea that the more complex the oenology, the duller the wine. Quite the opposite, he suggests: research has put the science of wine on a solid foundation and made it possible for people to enjoy a greater variety of better wines.

- Publisher


Pasteur's basic point was that wine is a food. He meant for the working class. Pasteur thought that wine has two distinct virtues: it is a stimulant, and it is a food. The bourgeoisie may drink wine as a stimulant for its jaded palate; the working class needs wine as both stimulant and food. Gladstone, who as chancellor of the exchequer was responsible for getting duties lowered on French wines imported in to the United Kingdom, was in basic agreement with this point of view: the "great gift of Providence to man" might tempt the people of England, if they could afford it.

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